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CANBERRA, Nov 9 Australian shares eased 0.5
percent on Friday, weighed down by miners and banks with
investors fretting about U.S. fiscal woes and the global
economic outlook, though the market trimmed earlier losses on
bargain hunting and ended flat for the week.
Top global miner BHP Billiton declined 0.6 percent
to A$34.46, and Rio Tinto Ltd fell 1.1 percent to
Westpac Banking Corp dropped 2.9 percent, and
National Australia Bank Ltd sank 4.3 percent, as both
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index lost 21.8 points to
4,462.0, according to the latest data, after falling as low as
4,436.6. It fell 0.7 percent to 4,483.8 on Thursday.
The Australian market has been declining for the second day
in a global sell-off following U.S. President Barack Obama's
re-election, but analysts said investors were looking to buy on
"It's probably been oversold a little bit too much, and
it's now the stage where people think it's probably reasonable
to come back in and do a little bit of buying here and there,"
said Winston Sammut, investment director at Maxim Asset
The Reserve Bank of Australia cut its 2013 growth forecast
on Friday to 2.75 percent, warning that the mining boom will
peak earlier and at a lower level than expected as weaker
commodity prices curb investment plans.
It left the door open for more easing and interbank futures
<0#YIB:> implied a 50-50 chance of a move in December.
"There's still prospect of an interest rate cut in December,
so rather than waiting until then, it's probably worthwhile
picking up some stocks now," Sammut said.
Leading department store chain Myer Holdings Ltd
jumped 4.5 percent, and major competitor David Jones Ltd
added 0.8 percent.
Origin Energy plunged 5.7 percent, having touched a
4-1/2-year low, after the company warned its 2013 profit would
fall by up to 10 percent.
Earthmoving equipment provider Emeco Holdings Ltd
dived 16.9 percent, hitting a nearly 2-1/2-year low, after the
company said it saw some utilisation challenges in Australia due
to lower commodities prices and subdued mining activity.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index edged up 0.1
percent to 3,957.9.
(Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)