Australia shares fall for third consecutive session on Fed uncertainty
(Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)
SYDNEY, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell 0.4 percent on Tuesday dragged down by bluechip stocks in a broad-based selloff as Wall Street declined overnight and investors continued to fret about when the U.S. Federal Reserve will start tapering its stimulus.
The Big Four banks were trading lower, with top lender the Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell 0.6 percent while Australia and New Zealand Banking Group lost 0.8 percent. Westpac Banking Corp slipped 0.4 percent.
Bellwether miners BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd lost 0.6 percent and 0.9 percent respectively after copper prices fell for a second straight session on a weak euro and concerns about supply.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 22.7 points to 5,229.8 by 0122 GMT, a third consecutive session of falls. The benchmark fell 0.5 percent on Monday.
"I do think that there was a sense of complacency before, about the Fed being able to drive the market higher simply through doing whatever it was doing," said Damien Boey, equity strategist at Credit Suisse.
"But, now there's been a reflection on that and now the market's come off and I think that will continue."
The benchmark hit a five-year high of 5,300.1 points last week, boosted by a rally in stocks, commodities and risk-sensitive currencies after the U.S. Federal Reserve decided against trimming its stimulus program in September, but has since lost momentum as investors worry instead over whether the tapering will kick in before year end.
Defensives lost ground with top telecommunications provider Telstra Corporation Ltd and blood products maker CSL Ltd both slipping 0.3 percent.
Elsewhere, Mineral Resources Ltd slumped 10 percent to a one-month low of A$10.85 after the company said it was having issues at its Christmas Creek site, but said they would be resolved shortly.
Also adding to investor concerns was the approaching Oct. 1 deadline for Congress to avoid a government shutdown as lawmakers negotiate a new debt ceiling ahead of the fiscal year-end.
The local bourse took a lead from Wall Street, which declined for a third straight session overnight as New York Fed president William Dudley suggested the Fed could still begin scaling back its stimulus later this year.
"A combination of rhetoric provided little clarity and made for a moody overnight session," said Tracey Warren, stockbroking business development manager at CMC Markets stockbroking in a note to clients.
"Uncertainty over the U.S. Federal Reserve (has) weighed on markets, with regional Fed presidents now saying last week's unexpected decision has damaged the central bank's credibility."
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index remained flat at 4,703.3 points. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Eric Meijer)