Australia Stocks Fall for Second Session Running

By Robb M. Stewart Features Dow Jones Newswires

MELBOURNE, Australia--A second straight session of broad selling dragged Australian shares to a more than one-week low Monday, marking a cautious start to the new Australian fiscal year.

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The S&P/ASX 200 ended a choppy session near its lows, down 37 points, or 0.7%, at 5684.5. The index, despite losing ground over the last quarter, climbed 9.3% over the year through June.

Despite edging higher in early trading, the major banks built on Friday's sharp declines. Utilities and property trusts also weighed heavily on the market. Only the energy sector eked out a minor gain as crude-oil prices built on recent gains in Asian trade.For the day, 1.85 billion shares were traded with a value of 4.93 billion Australia dollars (US$3.79 billion), Commonwealth Securities said.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia dropped by 0.5%, Westpac Banking shed 0.4% and Australia & New Zealand Banking and National Australia Bank each slipped 0.2%. The regional banks fared better, with Bendigo & Adelaide Bank picking up 0.5% and Bank of Queensland rising 0.8%.

Diversified miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto diverged, with the former losing 0.2% but Rio gaining 0.5%. Gold producer Newcrest Mining fell 0.6% and Oz Minerals declined 1.5%.

Fairfax slumped 11% after it failed to attract takeover bids from two rival private-equity firms that had been circling.

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Biotechnology firm CSL, which had rallied strongly in the first half of the year, lost another 2% as it built on Friday's drop. It has now pulled back in five of the last six sessions.

Write to Robb M. Stewart at robb.stewart@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 03, 2017 03:37 ET (07:37 GMT)