June 24, 2014 / 2:41 AM / 3 years ago

Australia shares edge lower in Wall Street's wake; David Jones jumps

* Most sectors lower, modest uptick among gold miners

* Takeover target David Jones rises, Country Road soars

* Kathmandu slumps on profit downgrade (Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)

By Thuy Ong and Gyles Beckford

SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, June 24 (Reuters) - Australian shares slipped 0.4 percent on Tuesday, tracking Wall Street lower as investors sold local equities across the board, outweighing a jump in department store operator David Jones Ltd, a takeover target.

The S&P/ASX 200 index slid 22.8 points to 5,430.5 by 0237 GMT, having closed 0.6 percent higher on Monday.

The benchmark has drifted 1.1 percent lower so far in June and has fallen for 7 out of the past 10 sessions, as unrest in Iraq and a rout in iron ore prices have soured investor appetite.

“The majority of companies still rely on the economy and the economy is still weak”, said Akshay Chopra, investment analyst at Karara Capital, a boutique fund manager. “In order for the market to push up, the economy really needs to improve and companies need to see better top-line growth in my view.”

The financial sector led the move lower on Tuesday with the country’s four biggest banks all falling in early trade. Westpac Banking Corp and Australia and New Zealand Banking Corp both lost 0.7 percent.

However, there was a modest uptick among a small number of gold stocks, as the Iraq crisis buoyed appetite for safe-haven bullion. Top gold producer Newcrest Mining Ltd added 0.9 percent, while Northern Star Resources Ltd jumped 2.8 percent.

Shares in David Jones Ltd, the takeover target of South Africa’s Woolworths Holdings Ltd, were 4.1 percent higher. Country Road Ltd soared 14 percent as Woolworths offered to buy the stake in the company it does not already own from billionaire investor Solomon Lew, now also an investor in David Jones.

New Zealand’s benchmark NZX-50 index was weaker for a third consecutive session, at one stage falling 0.4 percent to a near one-month low, before trimming its losses to sit 0.21 percent lower at 5115.65.

The main casualty was outdoor goods retailer Kathmandu Ltd , which fell as much as 14.3 percent to a near-five month low, after warning earnings were likely to be 10 to 15 percent lower as warm weather had hit winter clothing sales. It last traded down 12.4 percent at NZ$3.12. On the ASX, Kathamandu slumped 10.2 percent to 4-month lows of A$2.97.

The first of a raft of new listings debuted on the market. Travel booking firm Serko Ltd traded between NZ$0.91 and NZ$1.13, against an issue price of NZ$1.10 each to raise NZ$22 million. It last traded at NZ$1.01.

Utilities software developer Gentrack Group Ltd will list on the New Zealand and Australian exchanges on Wednesday. It has sold 41.3 million new and existing shares at NZ$2.40, valuing the company at NZ$174.5 million.

Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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