June 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended the week in red
to mark their biggest weekly fall in two years amid a global
equities sell-off on weak commodity prices, with investors
refraining from placing big bets ahead of U.S. inflation data
due later in the day.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 1.25% lower at 6,932.0
on Friday. For the week, the benchmark lost 4.2% and snapped its
third weekly gain.
Global market sentiment was also downbeat as investors
anxiously await U.S data, which is expected to show consumer
prices to remain elevated.
Gold stocks lost nearly 2% and led the losses in the
benchmark index on weak bullion prices, with the country's
largest gold miner Newcrest Mining down 1.4%.
"We are seeing the profits that we have been making in the
commodities getting taken off today and there is a general sense
of concern and more uncertainty in the market ... with the main
focus on is inflation and response by central banks," said Brad
Smoling, managing director at Smoling Stockbroking.
Renewed COVID-19 measures in Beijing further dented market
sentiment, with local miners dropping 1.08% to their
worst week since May 13 on tepid iron ore prices.
Mining heavyweights BHP Group and Rio Tinto
skidded more than 3% each.
Financials lost 1.6%, marking their worst week since
March 2020, with the "Big Four" banks sliding between 0.7% and
Markets could expect more pain if the U.S. inflation
numbers come in high, Smoling added.
Shares of Crown Resorts Ltd, Australia's largest
casino operator, rose 0.6% after regulators in the state of
Western Australia cleared its $6.3 billion buyout by U.S.
private-equity giant Blackstone Inc.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index
closed 0.7% lower at 11,136.28, and saw its worst weekly loss
since May 13.
(Reporting By Navya Mittal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry