* S&P/ASX 200 slips 0.4 pct after hitting near 6-year high
* Index heavyweight banking and mining stocks all lower
* Safe-haven buying in gold stocks buoy market from steeper
(Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)
By Thuy Ong
SYDNEY, April 14 Australian shares slipped 0.5
percent on Monday as investors remained wary of last week's
sharp tech-driven selloff on Wall Street, though a safety-bid
for gold miners helped to contain broad market losses.
Banking and mining stocks tugged the market lower. National
Australia Bank slipped 0.5 percent, and Australia and
New Zealand Banking Group shed 0.4 percent.
Miners BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd
lost 0.3 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively, after Shanghai
rebar futures fell for a third day on Friday on concern Chinese
demand may ease in line with a slowing economy. China is
Australia's largest export market.
The S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 29.3 points to 5,399.4
by 0226 GMT.
The ASX 200 touched 5,503.5 last week, its highest point
since June 2008, mainly underpinned by solid Australian economic
data and corporate activity. On Friday, the benchmark lost 1
percent, underscoring worries of a deeper pullback in U.S.
"It's largely driven by offshore markets," said Tim
Radford, global investment manager at Rivkin Securities in
U.S. stocks slid in a volatile session on Friday, with the
Nasdaq closing below the 4,000 mark for the first time since
"Even though the Australian market has little exposure to
the tech driven sell-off from the States, it's also led to a
risk-off move across most asset classes, which has led to some
downside to the Aussie market," Radford said.
Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd tumbled 5.1 percent, as
investors continued to dump the stock after the food and
beverage company issued a profit warning last week, pushing it
near 5-year lows of A$9.24.
Gold jumped to a three-week high, helping to support the
market somewhat, as mounting geopolitical tensions in Ukraine
curbed investor appetite for risk. Newcrest Mining Ltd
added 0.5 percent, while Resolute Mining Ltd rose 0.8
Australia's largest telecommunications provider Telstra
Corporation Ltd gained 0.5 percent.
Horizon Oil Ltd soared 4.6 percent to six-week
highs of A$0.34 on news that Papua New Guinea had approved its
Stanley gas condensate development project.
Liquefied Natural Gas bounced 6.8 percent after the
company signed a technical services agreement with SKEC Group to
help in engineering and construction work at its Magnolia LNG
Project in Louisiana.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index shed 0.6
percent to 5,061.2.
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)