* Resource and financial stocks slip
* Investors cautious on geopolitical tensions
* 67 shares were higher vs 120 shares down, 13 shares
(Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)
By Swati Pandey and Gyles Beckford
SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, Sept 4 Australian shares fell
0.4 percent on Thursday, with broad-based selling rooted in
weakness in resources after iron ore prices fell overnight to
near five-year lows.
Many investors, still digesting a mixed earnings season the
past two weeks, sat on the sidelines hoping geopolitical
tensions will ease.
"There's no definite lead coming out of the United States.
Investors are a bit cautious about geopolitical tensions," said
Tony Russell, senior equities adviser at RBS Morgans Reynolds
"Our markets had performed very strongly in the last month
so there is little bit of profit-taking as well."
The S&P/ASX 200 index, hovering near six-year highs,
fell 20.6 points to 5,635.5 by 0143 GMT on Thursday. The
benchmark barely changed on Wednesday.
Russell expects the market to trade in a 100-150 point range
in the near-term.
U.S. stocks were flat on Wednesday. A decline in Apple
dragged the Nasdaq lower and investors held off on big
bets before the European Central Bank's coming policy meeting.
Wotif.com Holdings Ltd shares fell 7.4 percent,
their biggest one-day drop in 5-1/2 months, after Australia's
competition watchdog deferred a ruling on U.S. travel giant
Expedia Inc's proposed acquisition of the company.
Shares of Recall Holdings Ltd rose 2 percent after
it entered an agreement to sell its secure destruction services
business in Germany.
Newcrest Mining Ltd fell 2 percent with gold
trading near 2-1/2 month lows. Rare earth miner Lynas Corp
was down 5.9 percent and BHP Billiton fell 0.3
The four major banks - Commonwealth Bank of Australia
, Westpac Banking Corp, Australia and New
Zealand Banking Group and National Australia Bank
- also declined.
New Zealand stocks were flat, with the benchmark NZX-50
index barely changed at 5225.94.
Telecommunications company Spark Ltd, the market's
second biggest stock, nudged 1.1 percent higher to NZ$3.025,
within sight of the six year high seen in late August.
The bigger moves were among mid-cap stocks, with retailer
Briscoe Group up 3.4 percent to a lifetime high of
NZ$3.00 after posting a sharply higher first half profit and
lifting its dividend payout.
Bio-technology stock Pacific Edge surged 4.9
percent to NZ$0.86 after reporting it had been granted a U.S.
patent for a melanoma detection test.
(Editing by Richard Borsuk)