September 3, 2018 / 6:30 AM / 2 months ago

Australian shares edge lower; NZ down

* Lingering trade worries weigh on commodity prices, and materials

* Australia July retail sales data point to falling consumer spending and confidence

* Fisher & Paykel biggest drag on NZ shares (Updates to close)

By Nikhil Nainan

Sept 3 (Reuters) - Australian share market slipped in subdued trading on Monday, as U.S.-China trade tensions kept investors wary.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.1 percent lower at 6,310.9, having fallen half a percent on Friday.

Financial stocks were lower, despite local media reporting that Adelaide Bank and Suncorp Group raised their mortgage rates on Friday. Westpac Banking, the country’s second largest lender, led the way by deciding to rates earlier last week, and other banks are expected to follow.

Retail sales in July fizzled, suggesting a dent in consumer confidence and spending. Lending growth is at its weakest in more than 4 years, and measures of consumer confidence have remained subdued for more than a year now.

Meanwhile, commodity prices faced pressure over renewed trade tensions between the world’s two biggest economies, The United States and China, which in turn hurt material stocks.

Western Areas and Fortescue Metals Group dropped 6.5 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively.

On the other hand, a 16.7 percent jump in Northern Star Resources sent its shares to a record high and helped the gold index rise 2.1 percent, even though bullion prices dropped below $1,200 an ounce.

The miner raised its gold output guidance for the 2019 financial year.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp topped the losses on New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index, which fell 0.6 percent, or 55.91 points to finish the session at 9,257.29.

The medical device firm dropped 3.9 percent, after it cut its fiscal 2019 profit net profit guidance, taking into consideration the legal costs associated with its patent battle with ResMed Inc.

In other news, Restaurant Brands New Zealand pared earlier losses to close marginally higher after it said it would let its license deal with Starbucks Corp expire in October.

The fast-food group sold the Starbucks license to Tahua Capital for NZ$4.4 million ($2.9 million). (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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