June 4 (Reuters) - Australian stocks declined on Friday as
sliding commodity prices weighed on resource-heavy sectors, with
a weaker finish on Wall Street overnight denting sentiment.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.2% to
7,248.80 by 0026 GMT. For the week, however, it is up almost 1%
and is set for its third straight weekly gain.
Mining stocks, the biggest constituent of the
benchmark, fell 2.2% as copper plunged to five-week lows.
However, the subindex was headed for weekly gains of 0.6%.
Mining majors Rio Tinto and BHP shed 2.8%
and 2%, respectively.
The gold index led losses on the benchmark by
declining 3.7% after spot prices slumped 2%. The sub-index has
lost 3.8% so far this week.
Gold miner Northern Star shed nearly 5%, while
Newscrest Mining declined 3.1%.
Tech stocks eased 1.2%, tracking their peers on Wall
Street, with index giant Afterpay Ltd falling 2.5%.
However, the energy index was up 0.3% as oil prices
steadied after weekly U.S. crude stocks took a sharp fall.
The sub-index is set to gain 7.6% this week in its biggest
weekly gain since Jan. 8.
Natural gas major Woodside Petroleum added 0.4% on
Friday, while Oil Search gained 0.7%.
Banking stocks also rose 0.6% with the "big four"
lenders trading higher.
Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index
was up 0.1% to 12,430, with Synlait Milk being
the top gainer.
In other markets, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.9% at
28,798.07, while S&P 500 E-minis futures were down
11.75, or 0.3%
(Reporting by Yamini C S in Bengaluru)