(Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)
SYDNEY, April 4 Australian shares shed 0.1
percent on Friday, pulled lower by the financial sector after
Wall Street slipped overnight and investors opt for caution
ahead of the U.S. payrolls report due out after local markets
Banks lost ground for another session, with Westpac Banking
Corp slipped 0.5 percent, Commonwealth Bank of
Australia fell 0.3 percent, while mid-tier Bendigo and
Adelaide Bank Ltd shed 0.1 percent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 4 points to 5,406.1 by
0021 GMT. The benchmark tacked on 0.1 percent on Thursday.
A handful of defensive stocks also drifted lower, with
Wesfarmers Ltd down 0.5 percent while index heavyweight
Telstra Corporation Ltd fell 0.2 percent.
The Australian market is trading some 60 odd points below
the 5-1/2 year high of 5,462.3 points hit on March 7, as
geopolitical tension over Ukraine and worries about slowing
growth in China dampened investor sentiment.
"The Australian market has tracked steadily higher ever
since hitting support levels at 5,300 point mid-March," said Tim
Radford, global investment manager at Rivkin Securities.
The mining sector eked out modest gains to buoy the market
from deeper falls. Fortescue Metals Group Ltd rose 0.7
percent, Iluka Resources Ltd added 0.8, and Oz Minerals
Ltd jumped 2 percent.
"This run looks sustainable in the near-term as buying
momentum across the Big Four banks gains traction and the big
miners recover from recent China slowdown fear-driven selling,"
Hot Chili Ltd which owns copper multi-commodity
projects in Chile, xx percent. A major earthquake of magnitude
8.2 struck off the coast of Chile on Tuesday.
Aspen Group Ltd soared 5.7 percent to A$1.31, a
2-1/2 month high after the company announced the sale of its
Septimus Roe office building at a price of A$91 million, in line
with its net carry value as of December 2013.
Department store operator David Jones Ltd lost 2.8
percent after CEO Paul Zahra reiterated to local media that
formal talks about a merger with rival Myer Holdings Ltd
are months rather than weeks away.
Australia's competition regulator said it would let
Transurban Group, the country's biggest toll road
owner, buy Queensland state-owned toll road owner Queensland
Motorways Ltd, concluding that a deal would not substantially
reduce competition. Shares in Transurban added
U.S. stocks slipped overnight as caution set in ahead of
Friday's monthly jobs data.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.1
percent to 5,114.5.
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Eric Meijer)