December 30, 2019 / 6:04 AM / a month ago

Australian shares slip on real estate stocks; NZ falls

(Updates to close)

Dec 30 (Reuters) - Australian shares slipped on Monday, tracking a weak Wall Street finish, and as a number of top real estate and industrial firms traded ex-dividend to weigh on the benchmark index.

On the second last trading day of the year, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.3% to 6,804.9 at the close of trade. The benchmark had dropped 0.4% on Friday.

Shares of high-profile property firms such as Mirvac Group , Dexus and Stockland Corp Ltd lost between 0.9% to 2.7% on trading ex-dividend.

Sydney Airport Holdings slumped 4.3% and toll road operator Transurban Group declined 2.6%.

Investor sentiment was also dented by concerns over the year-end pressure on repo market in the United States after a scare in September which saw repo rates shoot up to as much as 10%, more than four times the Fed’s rate.

On Friday, the Nasdaq ended 0.2% lower, snapping a 11-day winning streak, while the S&P 500 closed flat.

In Australia, financial stocks, which account for about a third of the benchmark, trimmed most of their losses to close largely flat.

A 0.4% dip in the heavyweight metals and mining index also dragged the main index. Global miners BHP Group Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd shed 0.6% and 0.9%, respectively.

Defying the trend, gold stocks edged up 0.7%, benefiting from bullion prices hitting a two-month peak on a weaker U.S. dollar.

Gold Road Resources Ltd jumped 3.6%, while Westgold Resources Ltd added 2.8% by the end of the session.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 0.4% or 45.67 points to finish the day at 11,556.45.

Electricity retailer Meridian Energy Ltd and real-estate firm Argosy Property Ltd were the top losers on the bourse, falling 3.1% and 2.8%, respectively.

Retirement village operator Metlifecare Ltd rose as much as 7.1% to its highest since Nov. 2007 after it agreed to be acquired by Asia Pacific Village Group (APVG), an entity of Swedish buyout firm EQT AB. (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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