Aug 9 (Reuters) - Australian shares inched higher on
Tuesday, helped by gains in mining and energy stocks on the back
of firm commodity prices, while National Australia Bank dropped
after warning of higher costs.
The S&P/ASX 200 index had risen 0.1% to 7,025.30 by
0035 GMT. The benchmark closed 0.1% higher on Monday.
Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei fell 0.4% to 28,147.18 and
S&P 500 E-minis futures were up 0.2%, with investors
weighing mixed messages on inflation and how aggressive the
Federal Reserve might be in combating it.
The strong U.S. jobs report out last week raised the stakes
for July U.S. consumer prices data due on Wednesday, which could
see a further acceleration in inflation.
In Australia, financials dropped 0.9% and were the
top decliners, weighed down by a 3.6% fall in National Australia
Bank after the country's second-biggest lender warned
of higher expenses for a second time in four months. The other
three lenders among the "Big Four" lost between 0.1% and 0.9%.
Miners rose 0.5% and were on track for a third
straight session of gains, helped by strong iron ore prices.
Sector behemoths BHP Group and Rio Tinto
advanced 0.6% and 0.4%, respectively, while Fortescue Metals
Group inched 0.2% higher.
Energy stocks added 0.2%, tracking a rise in
overnight oil prices as positive economic data from China and
the United States fed hopes for demand despite nagging fears of
Oil and gas major Woodside Energy rose 0.4%, while
Santos was flat.
Separately, a measure of Australian consumer sentiment fell
for a ninth straight month in August to depths last seen early
in the pandemic as another hike in interest rates combined with
the surging cost of living to sour the national mood.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2%
(Reporting by Upasana Singh; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)