(Updates to close)
Nov 30 Australian shares edged lower on
Wednesday as material stocks slumped in line with iron ore and
steel prices ahead an OPEC meeting aimed at striking a deal to
cut oil output in a bid to boost crude prices that have halved
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.3 percent, or 17
points lower,at 5,440.5.
Mining giants BHP Billiton Ltd, Rio Tinto Ltd
and Fortescue Metals Group recorded their
biggest intra-day percentage loss in 3 weeks, tumbling 4.1
percent, 4.4 percent and 5.3 percent respectively.
The metals and mining index suffered its biggest
intra-day percentage loss in two months, losing 3.3 pct as China
steel futures looked set for a record fall on liquidity worries.
Energy stocks also took a beating with index heavyweights
Woodside Petroleum Ltd and Oil Search Ltd down
more than 2 percent.
Oil prices have been volatile in the run up to the OPEC
meeting, bouncing back on Wednesday, after a nearly 4 percent
slump in the previous session.
Australia is targeting the oil and gas industry for a tax
review ahead of next year's budget, as it looks to boost
revenues and collect more from multinational giants.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index lost 0.07
percent, or 4.8 points, to finish the session at 6,896.95.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand said more restrictions on
mortgage lending might be required based on fears of a
debt-fuelled property bubble.
Fletcher Building Ltd and Goodman Property Trust
were among the biggest losers on the benchmark, ending
down 4.8 percent and 2 percent respectively.
(Reporting by Hanna Paul in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon