Australia Stocks Inch Lower, Down for Second Day

By Robb M. Stewart Features Dow Jones Newswires

MELBOURNE, Australia--Australian shares inched lower Thursday as further losses by the major banks and energy companies countered pockets of buying in the market.

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The modest fall added to the previous decline and further eroded Tuesday's rally, the biggest single-day gain in eight months as financial stocks rebounded.

After a choppy session, the S&P/ASX 200 finished down 4.5 points, or less than 0.1%, at 5758.8.

For the day, 2.19 billion shares were traded worth 5.4 billion Australian dollars (US$4.11 billion), Commonwealth Securities said.

The four biggest banks, which carry a heavy weight in the index, declined by between 0.3% and 0.9%.

Among energy stocks, Oil Search and Santos each fell 1.3% and Origin Energy dropped 1.4% but Woodside Petroleum edged up 0.2%. Oil futures rebounded somewhat during Asian trading from sharp losses overnight on renewed worries about the global supply glut.

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Among the miners, BHP Billiton added 0.6% but Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group were 1.3% and 1.5%, respectively, as Chinese iron-ore futures slipped. After gold prices recovered in U.S. trading, Newcrest Mining climbed 1.5%.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 06, 2017 03:45 ET (07:45 GMT)