Australian shares traded marginally lower on Thursday, as losses in banks countered gains in commodity stocks, while minutes from the US Federal Reserve’s January policy meeting cemented views that policymakers are in no hurry to cut interest rates.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.1% to 7,600.0 by 0000 GMT, down for a third straight session.

The benchmark fell 0.7% on Wednesday.

Fed minutes showed that bulk of policymakers were concerned about the risks of cutting interest rates too soon, with broad uncertainty about how long borrowing costs should remain at their current level.

In Sydney, the financials sub-index was down 0.2%. The “Big Four” banks fell between 0.2% and 0.4%.

Australian shares flat as commodities counter gains in financials

The healthcare sector was flat, with index major CSL down 0.2%.

Bucking the trend, miners gained 0.1%. Fortescue advanced as much as 3.2% after the world’s fourth-largest iron ore miner posted a 41% jump in half-yearly profit.

Energy stocks rose 0.6%, with Woodside Energy and Santos gaining 0.5% and 1.1%, respectively Among individual stocks, Qantas Airways gained as much as 3.9%, posting its biggest intraday percentage gain since Nov. 23, 2022, as the flag carrier announced an additional on-market stock buyback of up to A$400 million despite posting a 12.8% fall in first-half profit.

Meanwhile, shares of CSR jumped as much as 6.9% to hit a near 18-year high after the building materials firm confirmed that it had received a A$4.30 billion ($2.81 billion) non-binding takeover offer from French construction materials group Saint-Gobain.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was up 0.9% at 11,695.20.

Shares of Air New Zealand dropped as much as 1.6% after the airline reported a 38% drop in half-yearly profit.


200 characters