(Updates to close)
SYDNEY May 30 Australian shares declined 0.9
percent to a six-week low on Thursday, as disappointing local
capex data added to the dour sentiment across Asia where
Japanese stocks took another dive.
Weak metals prices hit big-cap miners BHP Billiton Ltd
and Rio Tinto Ltd, which lost 1.2 percent and
1.4 percent respectively.
The S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 44 points to finish at
4,930.7, the lowest mark since April 19, according to the latest
The benchmark, which edged 0.1 percent higher on Wednesday,
has been hit recently by the Fed stimulus worries and slowing
growth in China, Austrlia's major export market.
The latest plunge in Japanese shares came amid already
depressed sentiment after Wall Street dropped overnight as
investors continued to fret over the possible roll-back of the
massive U.S. stimulus. The benchmark Nikkei fell 5.2
percent to a five-week low as strength in the yen hit exporters
and triggered a broad-based selloff.
Putting a further dampener trade, data showed Australian
private new capital expenditure fell 4.7 percent in the first
quarter in seasonally adjusted terms compared with the previous
Financials were also weaker, with National Australia Bank
tumbling 4 percent to its lowest point since February
after trading ex-dividend. Australia and New Zealand Banking
Group slipped 0.3 percent.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.4
percent or 17.7 points to 4,470.5.
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)