* Both benchmark indexes retreat from three sessions of
* Australian financials drop most in two weeks
* Gold stocks mark best session since Nov 13 on safe-haven
Nov 26 (Reuters) - Australia shares on Thursday snapped a
three-session winning streak, dragged lower by heavyweight
financials, as a surprise uptick in U.S. jobless claims weighed
on sentiment and cut short vaccine-led optimism in global
The S&P/ASX 200 index edged 0.7% lower to finish the
session at 6636.4.
Initial jobless claims in the United States rose for a
second consecutive week, suggesting that a surge in COVID-19
count and business restrictions were lifting layoffs and
undermining the labour market recovery.
"Some bad data last night in the U.S. regarding employment
seems to have taken the wind out of the sails of the ongoing
announcements from different companies regarding the virus,"
said Brad Smoling, managing director at Smoling Stockbroking.
"We're starting to see, maybe some of the reality creep into
the market, being that the economic data is starting to overcome
the positive announcements regarding vaccines," Smoling said.
Heavyweight financials recorded their worst session
in two weeks with the so-called "Big Four" banks falling between
1.3% - 2.4%
Energy stocks also fell with Worley and
Whitehaven Coal dropping as much as 7% and 4.8%,
Bucking the trend, gold stocks advanced as weak U.S.
jobs data and surging COVID-19 cases cast fears of a swift
economic recovery, bolstering bullion's safe-haven appeal.
Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources
gained 1.8% and 3%, respectively.
Taking leads from the pandemic-resilient tech-heavy Nasdaq,
tech stocks in Australia added nearly 1%, with
buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay clocking gains of more
Shares of Bega Cheese were on a trading halt as the
country's biggest cheese maker planned to acquire the Australian
dairy arm of Japanese drinks giant Kirin Holdings.
Markets, however, showed scant reaction to Telstra Corp
, the country's biggest telecom firm, agreeing to pay a
penalty for selling indigenous consumers post-paid mobile
products they could not afford.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index
finished 0.5% lower, with electronic payments platform Pushpay
Holdings being the top drag in the index.
(Reporting by Deepali Saxena, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)