The Financial Express

Australia shares steady

Published: August 30, 2017 17:35:32 | Updated: October 22, 2017 05:18:03

Australia shares steady

Australia's benchmark stock index wobbled on Wednesday as a positive lead from Wall Street was offset by a plunge in shares of the country's biggest telecommunications company, Telstra.

Telstra Corp's shares sank 8 per cent at one point after it dropped a plan to raise A$5.5 billion ($4.4 billion) by selling income it receives from a government-owned broadband network. It also went ex-dividend, reports Reuters.

"Telstra is what’s dragging the index towards negative territory. Outside Telstra, I think it’s just a case of the market broadly remaining a bit nervous, being a bit unconvinced by this rally at this stage." said Ric Spooner, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was marginally lower at 0.04 per cent, or 2.412 points to 5,666 at 0233 GMT. The benchmark fell 0.7 per cent on Tuesday.

Telstra's slump pulled the telecommunications index down 5.2 per cent.

The benchmark index had opened higher, following three days of losses, tracking gains on Wall Street as geo-political tensions over the Korean Peninsula eased.

"The U.S. steadied a little bit overnight. I think we were really just following that pattern. (Aussie) market steadied somewhat today, but it doesn’t change the overall direction of our market, which is essentially flat," said Ric Spooner. Gains were led by the consumer staples sector, with Graincorp Ltd rising as much as 8.1 per cent and Bega

Cheese Ltd up as much as 3.3 per cent. The metals and mining index gained 0.4 per cent, receiving some support from rising copper and nickel prices amid a fall in inventories and supply disruptions.

Copper miner OZ Minerals Ltd climbed as much as 2.2 per cent, while BlueScope Steel Ltd rose as much as 2.9 per cent.

Data earlier in the day showed the value of construction work done in Australia in the June quarter in seasonally adjusted chain volume terms increased 9.3 per cent, beating analysts estimates; whereas monthly building approvals fell 1.7 per cent.

For more individual stocks activity click on New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.5 per cent, or 36.47 points to 7,774.81, rebounding after four days of losses.

The telecommunication and industrial sectors were the biggest gainers, with telecom and digital service supplier Spark New Zealand Ltd and Auckland International Airport Ltd gaining as much as 1.6 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively.

Chorus Ltd climbed as much as 1.2 per cent, after falling for three sessions as it reached an agreement with Crown Fibre to extend its broadband rollout.

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