Australia Stocks Inch Lower, Down for Second Day

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

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.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

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