Australia shares slide on Wall St selloff, Ukraine worries

Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:20am EDT

(Updates to close)

SYDNEY, April 14 (Reuters) - Australian shares slid 1.3 percent on Monday, their biggest decline in a month, as risk appetite was knocked back by tensions in Ukraine and last week's sharp tech-driven selloff on Wall Street.

The United States prepared to step up sanctions against Moscow if pro-Russian military actions in eastern Ukraine continue, a senior U.S. envoy said on Sunday, but it is unclear whether new measures will win European support or slow the Russian-backed separatist revolt.

The S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 69.8 points to 5,358.9 at the close of trade, its biggest one-day percentage fall in a month. The benchmark lost 1 percent on Friday, but eked out a gain of 0.1 percent for the week, its fourth consecutive week of gains.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.5 percent or 27.9 points to finish the session at 5,063.5. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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