Sept 19 (Reuters) - Australian shares were steady on Monday,
with mining and gold stocks supporting the benchmark index, even
as risk appetite remained weak after investors weighed
expectations of an outsized rate hike from the U.S Federal
Reserve this week.
The S&P/ASX 200 index held its ground at 6743.4
points, as of 0040 GMT.
Globally, investors remained on the sidelines ahead of the
Fed policy meet, where the U.S. central bank is likely to
announce a 75-basis-point hike, while a section of the market
believes that an outsized 100 bps rate will be necessary to tame
soaring price pressures.
Back home, Australian miners led the gains with a
1.2% jump, despite lower iron ore prices in China, with sector
majors Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals and BHP
Group Ltd firming between 0.4% and 0.5%.
The gold sector jumped nearly 1%, as bullion prices
steadied amid a weaker U.S. dollar. Shares of Newcrest Mining
and Northern Star Resources rose 2.1% and
The financial sub-index was trading steady, with two
of the "Big Four" banks rising up to 0.3%.
Lake Resources turned out to be the top gainer,
climbing as much as 16.7%, after the Australian lithium miner
said work was proceeding at its Kachi project in Argentina, days
after warning of a dispute with mining partner Lilac Solutions.
Losses in the energy sub-index countered benchmark
gains, with index heavyweights Woodside Energy and
Santos dropping 0.8% each.
Seperately, Origin Energy said it would divest its
entire stake in the Betaloo Basin for A$60 million ($40.36
million), while also intending to exit its upstream exploration
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged up
0.1% to 11,586.3 points.
($1 = 1.4865 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Archishma Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry