Aussie stocks open lower as global growth concerns weigh, NZ down

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Published: March 11, 2019 7:12:38 AM

Australian shares fell on weaker mining and financial stocks on Monday after economic data from the United States and China signalled a further cooling in the global economy.

Aussie stocks open lower as global growth concerns weigh, NZ down (File photo)

Australian shares fell on weaker mining and financial stocks on Monday after economic data from the United States and China signalled a further cooling in the global economy.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.4 percent or 27.3 points to 6,176.5 by 0044 GMT. The benchmark fell 0.6 percent on Friday.

Global stocks retreated on Friday after a disappointing U.S. payrolls report coupled with weak trade data from China revived concerns that the world economy was slackening. The European Central Bank’s surprising dovish hand further fuelled growth concerns.

“Trading in Shanghai will be very influential today,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, adding that Australian shares could gain if equities in top trading partner China erased their heavy losses on Friday.

Developments in U.S.-China trade talks would be another factor to watch, analysts said.

In a note to clients, Greg McKenna, strategist, trader and founder at McKenna Macro, pointed to comments on the weekend “that China was not going to go quietly into the night and accept U.S. enforcement regimes, U.S. attacks on its structural policies”.

Financials weighed on the benchmark after CEOs from several major banks faced questions about misconduct in the sector during a parliamentary committee hearing on Friday.

The Big Four banks gave up between 0.1 percent and 0.4 percent while the sub-index lost 0.3 percent.

Mining stocks were down 0.2 percent, bruised by weak copper prices on Friday after major consumer China released trade data that dented demand expectations for base metals.

Mining majors BHP Group and Rio Tinto slipped 1 percent and 0.3 percent respectively.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining Ltd agreed to buy a copper and gold mine in Canada for $806.5 million and said the Australian firm was open to more deals.

Newcrest shares rose 3.1 percent on the news, also helped by stronger gold prices as the sub-index headed for its fourth straight positive session.

Across the Tasman Sea, weaker New Zealand stocks were led by financial and utility stocks.

The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was 0.2 percent lower, or 147.8 points, to 9,422.47.

Fletcher Building was down 2.9 percent, its worst performance in more than two months.

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