Australian shares extended their losses on Friday, led by financials, as global markets remained under pressure from a hawkish US central bank, although domestic miners edged higher on the back of upbeat iron ore prices.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.3% at 6386.00 points, as of 2358 GMT, but was set for a weekly climb of 1%, if gains hold.

The benchmark ended 1.8% lower on Thursday.

Wall Street fell for a fourth straight day as economic data failed to alter expectations that the US Federal Reserve would soon back down from its aggressive rate-hike cycle.

In the local market, heavyweight Australian financials shed about a percent, with the “Big Four” banks dropping as much as 1.2%.

The Reserve Bank of Australia on Friday downgraded the outlook for economic growth, warning that more rate hikes will be necessary to bring down sky-high inflation even as it strives to avoid an outright recession.

Meanwhile, miners rose 0.5% as iron ore prices jumped on hopes that China would ease its strict COVID-19 restrictions and offer policy support to the economy.

Shares of BHP Group, Fortescue Metals Group and Rio Tinto added between 0.3% and 0.7%.

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Energy stocks rose 1.1%, with index majors Woodside Energy and Santos jumping about 1% each.

Whitehaven Coal climbed 2.6% to become the top gainer in the main index.

Shares of Star Entertainment traded flat after the company said three of its units received showcause notices from a Queensland regulator for matters related to a review of their casinos in the state.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was down 0.43% at 11,135.64 points, as of 2357 GMT.

The top loser in the index was Skycity Entertainment with a nearly 2% slump.


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