(Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)
SYDNEY Jan 14 Australian shares lost 1.1
percent on Tuesday, its biggest one day loss in six weeks, after
Wall Street tumbled overnight as investors exercise caution
ahead of the corporate reporting season and iron ore prices fell
to near-record lows.
Bluechip stocks all fell in a broadbased selloff. Among the
Big Four banks, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell
0.9 percent while Westpac Banking Corp lost 0.8
The defensives sector also tumbled with consumer staple
retailers Wesfarmers Ltd and Woolworths Ltd
down 1.2 percent and 1.1 percent each while Australia's biggest
telephone company Telstra Corporation Ltd shed 0.5
The S&P/ASX 200 index lost 55.6 points to 5,236.5 by
0007 GMT, its lowest point since December 20. The benchmark fell
0.4 percent on Monday.
"A key concern of market participants, given the exceptional
run in 2013, is whether the run can continue in 2014 even amid
the winding back of Fed stimulus," said Tim Radford, global
analyst at Rivkin Securities in a note.
"For the rally to remain sustainable, it could be healthy to
see a meaningful pullback in equities over the short-term,
allowing for bullish optimism to subside to less bearish
Heavyweight iron ore miners BHP Billiton Ltd and
Rio Tinto Ltd dropped 1.2 percent and 0.9 percent after
Chinese iron ore futures fell 1 percent to their lowest since
contracts were launched in October, as weaker steel prices
curbed demand for the raw material. World no.4 iron ore miner
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd slipped 0.4 percent.
U.S. stocks tumbled on Monday on caution ahead of corporate
results, as a growing number of negative pre-announcements
dimmed the profit growth outlook.
Elsewhere, the market's only reprieve was the gold sector as
bullion rose to a one-month high as fresh losses in U.S.
equities triggered safe-haven buying. Newcrest Mining Ltd
climbed 1.4 percent while Alacer Gold Corp
jumped 3.5 percent.
Forge Group Ltd dropped 11.6 percent after the
engineer warned on Tuesday that miners' cutbacks on new projects
and cost overruns of up to A$28 million on a key project for Rio
Tinto had forced it to line up assistance from its lenders.
Altium Ltd soared 8.6 percent to A$2.64, its
highest price since November, after the electronics design
software company said its half-year sales were $3.1 million, an
increase of 10 percent compared to the previous corresponding
Coalspur Mines Ltd climbed 8.5 percent to
four-month highs after the company said a regulator had closed
its hearing relating to its application for the approval of its
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.5
percent to 4,875.2.
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Eric Meijer)