Australia shares slip on Wall St, Super Retail tumbles on result

Reuters - UK Focus

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SYDNEY, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell 0.3percent on Friday, dragged down by bluechip stocks as WallStreet lost ground overnight, deflated by a set ofdisappointing bank earnings.

Among bluechip stocks, the 'Big Four' banks all slipped.Westpac Banking Corp fell 0.8 percent while NationalAustralia Bank lost 0.9 percent.

Elsewhere, consumer staples retailer Wesfarmers Ltd and Australia's biggest telephone company Telstra Corporation (Frankfurt: TSTA.F - news) Ltd both shed 0.7 percent.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 13.2 points to 5,295.9 by0042 GMT. The benchmark climbed 1.2 percent on Thursday but isset to slip 0.3 percent for the week.

The benchmark has lost 1.1 percent so far in January, withinvestors cautious of slowing growth in China, Australia'slargest export market, and uncertainty over how quickly the U.S.Federal Reserve will curtail its bond-buying programme.

"It's a combination of things: The U.S. share market had amessy start to the year as well, so that's set the toneinternationally, and uncertainty about China," said ShaneOliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors.

"Locally we did have strong gains at the end of last year.(But) there's still a bit of nervousness about the upcomingprofit-reporting season."

Super Retail Group Ltd tumbled 16.1 percent, totrade at 11-month lows of A$10.55, recovering slightly from itsearlier rout. The company reported weaker-than-expectedfirst-half results because of the mining slowdown and "internalchallenges".

"There was feedback that things were looking softer fromindustry participants, but they've been a good retailer with asolid track record," said Akshay Chopra, an investment analyst at boutique fund manager Karara Capital in Melbourne.

"The challenges, probably in time they will overcome them,but in the interim there's clearly going to be an impact onearnings, which has now flowed through."

The market's main reprieve was found in the resources sectorwhich rose as Shanghai steel futures hit a 1-week top, butcaution capped gains as investors fretted over a wobbly demandoutlook.

Heavyweights BHP Billiton Ltd climbed 2.5 percentwhile rival Rio Tinto Ltd (Xetra: 855018 - news) added 1.3 percent.

Bega Cheese Ltd rose 1.1 percent after the companysaid it was selling its 18.8 percent stake in Warrnambool Cheeseand Butter Holdings Ltd to Saputo (Toronto: SAP.TO - news) . Shares inWarrnambool added 0.1 percent.

Paladin Energy Ltd (Other OTC: PALAF - news) jumped 7.5 percent to 3-1/2month highs of A$0.53 after it successfully refinanced itsLanger Heinrich and Kayelekera project facilities, with a $59million reduction in debt repayments over 2014 and 2015.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.1percent to 4,915.7.

(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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