July 11, 2018 / 6:43 AM / 4 months ago

Aussie shares shaken by trade conflict; NZ dips

* Aussie shares fall on renewed trade war tensions

* Financials and materials stocks drag benchmark

* NZ slips on telecommunication services weakness (Updates to close)

July 11 (Reuters) - Escalating trade tensions knocked Australian shares on Wednesday, as Washington’s threat to impose tariffs on a further $200 billion of Chinese imports rang alarm bells across financial markets.

Broad-based losses pushed the S&P/ASX 200 index 0.7 percent or 42.5 points lower to 6,215.6 at the close of trade, reflecting gloom across Asian equities. The benchmark declined 0.4 percent on Tuesday.

The negative sentiment weighed heavily on financial stocks which fell 0.7 percent and led the declines.

Top lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia dipped 0.5 percent to a one-week low, while peer Westpac Banking Corp dropped 0.7 percent.

The threat of further tariffs also led to a sell-off in Chinese iron ore futures and base metal prices, hurting local materials stocks.

Global miner BHP Ltd slipped 1.3 percent and was the biggest drag on the benchmark, while rival Rio Tinto Ltd fell 1.8 percent.

Energy retailers were also under pressure, with Origin Energy and AGL Energy falling 3.6 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

The country’s competition regulator concluded an inquiry into retail electricity pricing and made recommendations to reduce prices for customers.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.2 percent or 21.54 points to finish the session at 9,001.39.

Telecommunication services stocks were the biggest drags, with Spark New Zealand Ltd slipping 1.2 percent to a more than one-week low. (Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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