May 7, 2020 / 1:38 AM / 22 days ago

Australia shares slip on dour U.S. data, overnight oil slump

* Energy stocks fall the most in Australia

* All “big four” Australian lenders down

* NZ rises, Pushpay hits record high

By Arundhati Dutta

May 7 (Reuters) - Australian shares extended falls on Thursday as downbeat U.S economic data dashed hopes for a pickup in business activity, while an overnight slump in crude oil prices weighed on energy stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index slipped for a second straight session and was down 0.53% to 5,356.2 by 1213 GMT.

Overnight, the S&P 500 and the Dow fell after data showed U.S. private employers laid off a record 20.236 million workers in April, and remarks by President Donald Trump that cast doubt on a trade deal signed in January with China.

In Australia, energy stocks were the top losers with a drop of more than 2%, after oil fell 4% to below $30 a barrel on Wednesday as U.S. crude stockpiles ticked up and diesel inventories swelled.

Oil Search Ltd led the fall with a decline of 3.39%, followed by Santos Ltd, down 2.47%.

Fuel supplier Viva Energy dropped up to 3% after posting a sharp decline in April jet fuel sales amid falling demand.

Gold stocks slipped 1% to snap three straight sessions of gains, following a drop in bullion prices overnight.

Dacian Gold Ltd shed nearly 5%, while index heavyweight Newcrest Mining fell 1.6%.

Financial stocks fell 1.27% , tracking peers in the United States. The “big four” lenders slipped between 1% and 1.8%.

The number of issues on the ASX that advanced were 356 while 445 declined as a 0.8-to-1 ratio favoured decliners. There were 47 new highs and 38 new lows.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.45% to 10,620.2.

Mobile payment solutions provider Pushpay Holdings Ltd was the top gainer on the benchmark index, rising for a fourth straight session to hit a record high. (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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