Oct 13 (Reuters) - Australian shares held steady on
Wednesday after two straight sessions of falls, as gains in gold
stocks countered losses in heavyweight miners and financials.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.04% to 7,283.7 by 0024
GMT after a 0.3% dip on Tuesday.
Wall Street closed lower overnight on jitters ahead of the
quarterly corporate earnings season and minutes from the U.S.
Federal Reserve's last policy meeting.
Investors are awaiting inflation data from the United States
and China due later this week, with expectations for high
readings that will add pressure on central banks to tighten
Financials fell 0.7%, led by a 4% drop in Bank of
Queensland Ltd after the lender warned its net interest
margin would decline by 5-7 basis points in the coming year due
to stiff competition and low interest rate environment. The 'big
four' banks skidded between 0.7% and 1.4%.
Miners skidded 0.46%, tracking a retreat in iron ore
prices as investor focus shifted back to steel production
controls in China. BHP Group, Rio Tinto and
Fortescue Metals declined between 0.6% and 2.1%.
Gold stocks climbed 0.95% as bullion prices rose
overnight with rising inflation fears weighing on risk appetite
and boosting demand for the safe-haven metal.
Gold miners Calidus Resources Ltd and Red 5 Ltd
led the gains on the sub-index, advancing 7.6% and 3.9%
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was down
0.18% to 12,996.3. Elsewhere, S&P 500 E-minis futures
were down 0.27%.
($1 = 1.3639 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Riya Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu