(Updates to close)
SYDNEY, June 5 Australian shares sank 1.3
percent to a 4-1/2-month low on Wednesday as
slower-than-expected first quarter growth and weakening demand
for metals in China depressed sentiment.
The financial sector was hit hard. Westpac Banking Corp
lost 2.6 percent while Australia's fourth-largest bank
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group tumbled 2.5
percent. Top lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia
slipped 1.3 percent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index declined 65.6 points to finish
at 4,835.2, its lowest close since January 25, according to the
latest data. The benchmark rose 0.3 percent on Tuesday.
Australia's economy posted a second straight quarter of
moderate growth as a drop in business investment offset gains in
trade and consumer spending at the start of 2013, a
disappointing result that only reinforced the case for lower
The disappointing data added to recent concerns about
slowing growth in China and the outlook for the U.S. Federal
Reserve's stimulus programme, which have prompted some heavy
selling of Australian equities.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.5
percent or 20.2 points to finish the session at 4,453.6.
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)