Australia shares slip on Wall St woes, safe-haven buying in gold caps losses

Reuters - UK Focus

* S&P/ASX 200 slips 0.4 pct after hitting near 6-year highlast week

* Index heavyweight banking and mining stocks all lower

* Safe-haven buying in gold stocks buoy market from steeperlosses (Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)

By Thuy Ong

SYDNEY, April 14 (Reuters) - Australian shares slipped 0.5percent on Monday as investors remained wary of last week'ssharp tech-driven selloff on Wall Street, though a safety-bidfor gold miners helped to contain broad market losses.

Banking and mining stocks tugged the market lower. NationalAustralia Bank slipped 0.5 percent, and Australia andNew Zealand Banking Group shed 0.4 percent.

Miners BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd (Xetra: 855018 - news) lost 0.3 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively, after Shanghairebar futures fell for a third day on Friday on concern Chinesedemand may ease in line with a slowing economy. China isAustralia's largest export market.

The S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 29.3 points to 5,399.4by 0226 GMT.

The ASX 200 touched 5,503.5 last week, its highest pointsince June 2008, mainly underpinned by solid Australian economicdata and corporate activity. On Friday, the benchmark lost 1percent, underscoring worries of a deeper pullback in U.S.stocks.

"It's largely driven by offshore markets," said TimRadford, global investment manager at Rivkin Securities inSydney.

U.S. stocks slid in a volatile session on Friday, with theNasdaq closing below the 4,000 mark for the first time sinceearly February.

"Even though the Australian market has little exposure tothe tech driven sell-off from the States, it's also led to arisk-off move across most asset classes, which has led to somedownside to the Aussie market," Radford said.

Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd tumbled 5.1 percent, asinvestors continued to dump the stock after the food andbeverage company issued a profit warning last week, pushing itnear 5-year lows of A$9.24.

Gold jumped to a three-week high, helping to support themarket somewhat, as mounting geopolitical tensions in Ukrainecurbed investor appetite for risk. Newcrest Mining Ltd added 0.5 percent, while Resolute Mining Ltd rose 0.8percent.

Australia's largest telecommunications provider TelstraCorporation Ltd gained 0.5 percent.

Horizon Oil Ltd soared 4.6 percent to six-weekhighs of A$0.34 on news that Papua New Guinea had approved itsStanley (Shenzhen: 002588.SZ - news) gas condensate development project.

Liquefied Natural Gas bounced 6.8 percent after thecompany signed a technical services agreement with SKEC Group tohelp in engineering and construction work at its Magnolia LNGProject in Louisiana.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index shed 0.6percent to 5,061.2.

(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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