Australia shares extend losses on US anxiety, investors seek value
(Adds stock moves, analysts comments)
SYDNEY Oct 9 (Reuters) - Australian shares slipped 0.2 percent on Wednesday morning as investors showed increasing signs of anxiety over the budget stalemate in Washington and the risk of an historic U.S. debt default.
Reflecting the sense of nervousness over the lack of progress in resolving the U.S. fiscal standoff, the stock market has slipped for four straight days.
"People kind of assume it will go away in due course, but it hasn't," said Credit Suisse equity strategist Damien Boey in Sydney. "Nobody will believe the U.S. government will seriously default, but there is a possibility of a selective default on certain bills,"
The post-election optimism also seemed to have faded away, Damien said. A survey showed on Wednesday that Australian consumer confidence eased in October, pulling back from a 33-month peak.
Australia's business-friendly conservative coalition won a landslide victory in last month's federal election, putting an end to three years of sometimes chaotic minority Labor government.
The S&P/ASX 200 index lost 8.3 points to 5,141.1 by 0035 GMT. The benchmark slipped 0.2 percent on Tuesday.
Donald Williams, chief investor officer at Platypus Asset Management, said that some investors welcomed the correction as they have been struggling to find value in the Australian market for several months.
"It looks like we are finally getting a decent correction. The market needs a break just to refresh valuation," Williams said.
"I think the fundamentals are OK, and more likely to improve than deteriorate," he added.
Global miners BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd pulled back 0.2 percent and 0.7 percent respectively. Gold miner Newcrest Mining Ltd dropped 1.2 percent after the company said its chief executive would step down in 2014 and the chairman would retire in December.
Top lender the Commonwealth Bank of Australia was almost flat and smaller player Australia and New Zealand Banking Group lost 0.2 percent. Westpac Banking Corporation bucked the trend and gained 0.7 percent.
Coal miner Inova Resources Ltd climbed 2.4 percent after Australia's foreign investment regulator approved a takeover plan by Chinese company Shanxi Donghui.
Discovery Metals Ltd tumbled 5.9 percent, a victim of the recent turmoil in Singapore's Blumont Group Ltd , which agreed to invest in Discovery but had lost more than S$6 billion ($4.81 billion) in market value over four turbulent trading days.
Linc Energy Ltd extended losses, dropping 4.0 percent, and has tumbled more than 20 percent since the company said last week it would move its listing to Singapore by December.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.4 percent to 4,721.4.
(Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
- Atheists face death in 13 countries, global discrimination: study
- Missouri executes man for killing good Samaritan motorist in 1994
- Focus turns to Thai military, anti-government protesters tell them to pick sides
- Google executives' planes saved millions in costs due to error - NASA
- Apple scores legal victory over Samsung in South Korea