Miners drag Australia shares lower as iron ore prices lag
Sept 15 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Wednesday, dragged down by losses in heavyweight miners BHP Group and Rio Tinto due to softer iron prices, though gains in gold stocks limited the fall.
The S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO was down 0.47% at 7,402.2 points, as of 0037 GMT. The benchmark closed 0.16% higher on Tuesday.
The mining index .AXMM fell 0.75%. Heavyweights BHP Group BHP.AX and Rio Tinto RIO.AX lost 2.3% and 0.8%, respectively, as Chinese iron ore futures DCIOcv1 on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 0.6%.
Financial stocks .AXFJ slipped 0.75%, with The 'Big Four' banks dropping between 0.8% and 1%.
Energy stocks .AXEJ fell 1.32% led by Santos Ltd STO.AX, down 2.47%, followed by Beach Energy Ltd BPT.AX losing 2.47%, even as oil prices ended largely flat on Tuesday.O/R
On the upside, gold stocks .AXGD rose 0.87% led by Tribune Resources Ltd TBR.AX up 4.9%, followed by Calidus Resources Ltd CAI.AX gaining 2.7%.
The number of issues on the ASX that advanced were 672 while 683 declined as a 1-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
Meanwhile, a measure of Australian consumer sentiment bounced in early September amid hopes harsh coronavirus restrictions would soon be eased. Victoria state's first-dose vaccination rate neared the 70% level.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index .NZ50 fell 0.15% to 13,088.9. The top percentage losers were Synlait Milk Ltd SML.NZ, down 1.58%, followed by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd ANZ.NZ, losing 1.29%.
Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei .N225 was down 0.61% at 30483.07, while S&P 500 E-minis futures EScv1 were up 8 points, or 0.18%.
(Reporting by Arundhati Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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