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Australian shares flat as miners, banks negate gains in gold stocks

10/12/2021 | 09:11pm

Oct 13 (Reuters) - Australian shares held steady on Wednesday after two straight sessions of falls, as gains in gold stocks countered losses in heavyweight miners and financials.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.04% to 7,283.7 by 0024 GMT after a 0.3% dip on Tuesday.

Wall Street closed lower overnight on jitters ahead of the quarterly corporate earnings season and minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's last policy meeting.

Investors are awaiting inflation data from the United States and China due later this week, with expectations for high readings that will add pressure on central banks to tighten monetary policies.

Financials fell 0.7%, led by a 4% drop in Bank of Queensland Ltd after the lender warned its net interest margin would decline by 5-7 basis points in the coming year due to stiff competition and low interest rate environment. The 'big four' banks skidded between 0.7% and 1.4%.

Miners skidded 0.46%, tracking a retreat in iron ore prices as investor focus shifted back to steel production controls in China. BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals declined between 0.6% and 2.1%.

Gold stocks climbed 0.95% as bullion prices rose overnight with rising inflation fears weighing on risk appetite and boosting demand for the safe-haven metal.

Gold miners Calidus Resources Ltd and Red 5 Ltd led the gains on the sub-index, advancing 7.6% and 3.9% respectively.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was down 0.18% to 12,996.3. Elsewhere, S&P 500 E-minis futures were down 0.27%.

($1 = 1.3639 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Riya Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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