Australia shares slip, recover from session lows on China PMI

Tue Apr 1, 2014 1:23am EDT

(Updates to close)

SYDNEY, April 1 (Reuters) - Australian shares slipped 0.1 percent on Tuesday, after resources recovered on the back of a slight uptick in China's factory activity survey, while the Reserve Bank of Australia kept rates on hold as widely expected.

Activity in China's factory sector edged up slightly in March, a government survey showed, though the figure is unlikely to dispel concerns that the world's second-largest economy is facing a slow first quarter.

Australia's central bank kept its main cash rate at a record low of 2.5 percent, saying the outlook was for a period of steady policy as the stimulus from past cuts percolated through the economy.

The S&P/ASX 200 index shed 5.6 points to 5,389.2 at the close of trade. The benchmark added 0.5 percent on Monday and rose 0.8 percent for the first quarter.

Prana Biotechnology Ltd lost nearly three-quarters of its value after the company said its experimental drug to treat Alzheimer's disease failed a mid-stage study, raising doubts about the drug's future.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.3 percent or 17.5 points to finish the session at 5,122.5. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Eric Meijer)