Aug 12 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Friday, dragged
down by losses in banking and mining stocks following an
overnight retreat in Wall Street, while Insurance Australia
Group gained after posting strong annual results.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.5% at 7,034.10 by
0035 GMT. The benchmark was on track to rise 0.1% this week.
Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei advanced 2.2% to
28,425.53, while S&P 500 E-minis futures were flat.
The Nasdaq and S&P 500 closed lower overnight on the
realization the Federal Reserve still needs to aggressively
boost interest rates to fully tame rising consumer prices
despite fresh evidence of cooling inflation.
Financials fell 0.3%, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia
declining 1.1% among the so-called "Big Four" banks.
Miners shed 0.4% even as iron ore prices advanced
overnight. However, the sub-index was set to gain 2.5% for the
Fortescue Metals Group fell 0.2%, while Rio Tinto
added 0.6% and BHP Group was flat.
Gold stocks declined 1% as bullion prices edged
lower overnight. The country's major gold miners Newcrest Mining
and Northern Star Resources fell 1.1% and
The technology sub-index slipped 1.6% to hit its
lowest since Aug. 2. Xero and WiseTech Global
fell 2.6% and 2.2%, respectively.
Insurance Australia Group rose 1.5% to hit a near
three-month high, after the general insurer posted an annual
profit from a loss a year ago.
On the upside, firm crude prices pushed energy stocks
up 0.4%, with Woodside Energy and Santos
advancing 1.6% and 0.4%, respectively.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged 0.1%
higher to 11,766.61. A Reuters poll found that the country's
central bank will stick to its hawkish stance and deliver a
fourth straight half-point rate hike on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Upasana Singh; Editing by Rashmi Aich)