Australia shares pull back on soft China data, gold miners jump

Thu Jan 2, 2014 7:30pm EST

Related Topics

SYDNEY, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell 0.7 percent
on Friday, with big banks and miners weighing as investors took
profits at the index's 6-week highs after seeing signs of
weakness in Chinese manufacturing data.
    China's factory activity slowed in December, official and
private manufacturing surveys showed, reinforcing views that
growth in the world's second-largest economy moderated in the
final quarter of 2013. 
    "We saw that Chinese PMI number yesterday was a little bit
lower than expected, so expect the material base to trade a bit
weaker today," said Simon Twiss, a dealer at Arnhem Investment
Management.
    Top miners BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd
 fell 1.2 percent and 0.6 percent respectively.
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd lost 1.8 percent.
    The S&P/ASX 200 index lost 34.9 points to 5,333.0 by
0020 GMT. The benchmark rose 0.3 percent on Thursday, touching a
six-week high.
    The market tracked the weakness on Wall Street, which closed
lower on the first day of trading in 2014.
     "Rising US bond yields are perhaps providing stock
investors with some pause," said Ric Spooner, chief market
analyst at CMC Markets.
     "One of the key issues for markets over coming months will
be whether the Fed can exit from its QE strategy without pushing
bond yields too high and so dampening the outlook for economic
and profit growth," he said.
    Australia's big four banks all pulled back. Top lender
Commonwealth Bank of Australia slipped 0.7 percent,
while both Westpac Banking Corp and National Australia
Bank fell 0.8 percent.
    Gold miners bucked the market trend and traded higher after
gold prices jumped nearly 2 percent overnight. 
    Newcrest Mining Ltd and Regis Resources Ltd
, the biggest gold names on the ASX market, gained 0.1
percent and 1.0 percent respectively. Silver Lake Resources Ltd
 jumped 8.2 percent, making it the biggest winner on the
index.    
    Telstra Corp Ltd, the country's biggest phone
company, edged up 0.1 percent.
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.3
percent to 4,752.3 following a two-day holiday.
    
    

 (Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Eric Meijer)
FILED UNDER: