Banks, miners drag Australian shares lower

08/11/2022 | 09:11pm

Aug 12 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Friday, dragged down by losses in banking and mining stocks following an overnight retreat in Wall Street, while Insurance Australia Group gained after posting strong annual results.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.5% at 7,034.10 by 0035 GMT. The benchmark was on track to rise 0.1% this week.

Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei advanced 2.2% to 28,425.53, while S&P 500 E-minis futures were flat. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 closed lower overnight on the realization the Federal Reserve still needs to aggressively boost interest rates to fully tame rising consumer prices despite fresh evidence of cooling inflation.

Financials fell 0.3%, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia declining 1.1% among the so-called "Big Four" banks.

Miners shed 0.4% even as iron ore prices advanced overnight. However, the sub-index was set to gain 2.5% for the week.

Fortescue Metals Group fell 0.2%, while Rio Tinto added 0.6% and BHP Group was flat.

Gold stocks declined 1% as bullion prices edged lower overnight. The country's major gold miners Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources fell 1.1% and 0.2%, respectively.

The technology sub-index slipped 1.6% to hit its lowest since Aug. 2. Xero and WiseTech Global fell 2.6% and 2.2%, respectively.

Insurance Australia Group rose 1.5% to hit a near three-month high, after the general insurer posted an annual profit from a loss a year ago.

On the upside, firm crude prices pushed energy stocks up 0.4%, with Woodside Energy and Santos advancing 1.6% and 0.4%, respectively.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged 0.1% higher to 11,766.61. A Reuters poll found that the country's central bank will stick to its hawkish stance and deliver a fourth straight half-point rate hike on Wednesday. (Reporting by Upasana Singh; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

Reuters 2022
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