Australia shares slip 0.3 pct as miners and energy fall

Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:07pm EST

(Adds details, comments)
    CANBERRA, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Australian shares edged down
0.3 percent on Friday, struggling to consolidate their return
above 4,400 points as the market lacked drivers with U.S.
markets closed for a holiday.
    The index was also dragged down by miners and energy stocks,
with BHP Billiton Ltd down 0.3 percent and Fortescue
Metals Group Ltd falling 1.7 percent.
    "Because we've seen some good gains in the sector, I suspect
profit taking will probably be a dominant factor at play in the
market today," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at
CMC Markets.
    Other analysts said miners would be further hit by China's
plan to cut taxes for its domestic iron ore
miners. 
    The news was particularly bad for small miners in Australia
and was starting to bite into the performance of the whole
sector, said Damien Boey, an equity strategist at Credit Suisse.
    Australian miners would have to scale back their capex
expansion and probably cut jobs, further hurting the local
economy, he said.
    Energy stocks lost ground on weaker oil prices, with
Woodside Petroleum Ltd slipping 0.6 percent and Origin
Energy Ltd falling 1.3 percent. 
    The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was down 12.3 points
at 4,400.8 by 0039 GMT. It rose 1 percent on Thursday, breaking
above key resistance on positive Chinese manufacturing data.
    Of the major banks, top lender Commonwealth Bank of
Australia gained 0.3 percent, while Westpac Banking
Corp lost 0.6 percent.
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.3
percent to 4,010.2.
    
    STOCKS ON THE MOVE
    * Lynas Corp jumped 5.9 percent to A$0.72,
extending its rally after it said on Thursday that it would
start operation at its $800 million Malaysian plant with the
arrival of the first shipment of rare-earth concentrates. 
    (0033 GMT)
    
    * Mining services company Ausdrill Ltd plunged 8.9
percent to its lowest price since December 2010, after it said
its full year revenue was expected to decline by $50 million
with a number of one-off costs. 
    (0036 GMT)
    

 (Reporting By Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)
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