November 24, 2017 / 6:35 AM / a year ago

Aussie shares muted on bearish message from China; NZ up

(Updates to close)

Nov 24 (Reuters) - Australian shares were subdued on Friday, with investor sentiment dampened by a slump in the Chinese stock market following a sell-off in Chinese bonds as Beijing pressed ahead with its deleveraging drive.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.06 percent or 3.595 points to 5,982.6. The index rose 0.43 percent on the week.

China’s blue-chip CSI300 index on Thursday tumbled nearly 3 percent to its biggest drop since June 13, 2016. The index ended Friday morning down 0.8 percent, but was trading up 0.1 percent at 0628 GMT.

The selloff comes as the Chinese government steps up its deleveraging campaign, most recently intended to curtail micro-lending and to regulate asset managers more tightly, with sustained offloading of Chinese bonds.

“The trade-weighted index has fallen substantially and is highly correlated with Chinese equities and demand for commodities. It is basically falling because of the deleveraging and shadow banking restrictions,” said Mathan Somasundaram, Market Portfolio Strategist at Blue Ocean Equities.

The finance-heavy benchmark was dragged by the ASX financial index falling 0.4 percent with the ‘Big Four’ banks down between 0.3 percent to 0.7 percent.

Industrial stocks added to the losses with Qantas Airways Ltd slipping 1.8 percent and extending its losses to third straight sessions. Plumbing supplies manufacturer Reliance Worldwide Corporation Ltd fell 4.6 percent.

Health care stocks gained, with biotheraputics developer CSL Ltd rising 0.4 percent to a record high and extending gains to a sixth straight session.

Hospital operator Ramsay Health Care Ltd gained 1.8 percent.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.35 percent or 28.34 points to finish the session at 8,130.290. The index gained 0.85 percent for the week.

Healthcare stocks spearheaded gains with Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Ltd and rival Ryman Healthcare Ltd adding most to the index’s move.

Fisher and Paykel rose for a second day, adding 1.7 pct. Ryman Healthcare jumped 3.7 pct to hit a 6-week high.

Reporting by Syed Saif Hussain Naqvi in Bengaluru; Editing by Eric Meijer

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