Stimulus Check – Australia shares end lower as c.bank disappoints; miners, energy stocks weigh
* Mining stocks down 1%
* NZ closes flat (Updates to close)
Aug 3 (Reuters) – Australian shares dropped on Tuesday, with miners and energy stocks leading declines, as the country’s central bank stuck to its words to cut back stimulus even as heavily-populated states remained under lockdowns.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.2% to end at 7,474.5, slipping from Monday’s record closing high.
In a surprise move, the Reserve Bank of Australia (R(BA)) said it would continue to taper its bond-buying programme from September and stood pat on the cash rate at 0.1% for its eighth straight policy meeting.
“Markets will be a little disappointed (at the asset tapering decision),” said Henry Jennings, senior analyst at the Marcustoday Financial Newsletter.
“I think we were pressing on hopes that they might back up a little bit given the lockdowns…It’s a bit negative for the banks, it means the interest rates are going to be pretty much where they are for a long time.”
Banking stocks fell 0.5%, with the “Big Four” lenders trading 0.2%-0.9% lower.
Mining and energy stocks took a beating on weaker commodity prices, as base metals and oil fell on coronavirus woes that could slow demand and hinder recovery.
Miners were the biggest laggards, shedding nearly 1% in their biggest single-day drop in two weeks, with Rio Tinto , BHP Group and Fortescue Metals shedding between 0.6% and 1.6%.
The energy sub-index lost about 1.4%, dragged down by Whitehaven Coal Ltd and Beach Energy Ltd.
Tech stocks were the only bright spot, rising 4.4%. Afterpay extended gains for a second straight session, after the buy-now-pay-later firm received a $29 billion buyout offer from Jack Dorsey-led Square Inc on Monday.
In New Zealand, the benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.02% to 12,700.5, with freight gateway operator Port of Tauranga Ltd losing 2.5%.
Japan’s Nikkei was down 0.5%, while the S&P 500 E-minis futures were up 0.3%. (Reporting by Yamini C S in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)