* Financial sector weak ahead of earnings results
* Woolworths drags after missing analyst estimates
(Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)
By Thuy Ong
SYDNEY, April 30 Australian shares slipped 0.1
percent on Wednesday, pulled down by banks and index heavyweight
Woolworths, though gains on Wall Street overnight and a recovery
in miners helped keep the market afloat.
Woolworths Ltd dropped 2.3 percent after saying its
third-quarter sales from continuing operations rose less than
analysts had expected.
The news hit other retailers, with Wesfarmers Ltd
down 1.1 percent and electronics seller JB Hi-Fi Ltd
losing 1.9 percent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 7.6 points at 5,479.0
as of 0139 GMT. It is on track to gain 1.6 percent on the month.
The benchmark lost 0.9 percent on Tuesday, snapping seven
consecutive sessions of gains.
Financials fell for a second session. Australia and New
Zealand Banking Group and Westpac Banking Corp
both slipped 0.7 percent, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia
was flat. All three stocks had touched record highs in
"The banks have had a 3 percent rally in April that we
anticipated, we sold all our bank holdings in the last week,"
said Shawn Hickman, managing director at Market Matters.
"I think people are maybe staying out of the longs ahead of
tomorrow's numbers," referring to results due on Thursday from
ANZ, the first major bank to report for the latest quarter.
Resource stocks added some support. BHP Billiton Ltd
rose 0.5 percent and Rio Tinto Ltd gained 0.6
percent. OceanaGold Corp soared 10.6 percent after
reporting strong earnings results and record quarterly gold
production from the Didipio Mine.
Brambles Ltd shed 1.7 percent after the logistics
company said sales revenue for the nine months ended March was
up 6 percent at $3.97 billion. CEO Tom Gorman said growth had
offset the adverse short-term impact on pallet volumes from the
severe North American winter and late timing of Easter.
Aditya Birla Minerals slumped nearly 40 percent to
A$0.19, its lowest since April 2009, after reporting a drop of
36 percent in ore mined during the quarter compared with the
previous corresponding period.
U.S. stocks rose overnight, boosted by upbeat corporate
earnings and a rebound in Facebook and other high-growth
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index climbed 0.9
percent, or 47.5 points, to 5,195.8.
Accounting software firm Xero jumped 6.6 percent
after the company struck an alliance with U.S. tax outfit H&R
Block, bouncing back after a steep decline over the past few
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Chris Gallagher)