* Gold stocks hit by fall in bullion prices
* Australia's Oct Mfg PMI below estimates - IHS Markit
* NZ marks fifth straight week of gains
Oct 23 (Reuters) - Australian shares slipped on Friday, with
gold stocks leading losses, as sentiment was weighed by
uncertainty over a U.S. stimulus deal and a preliminary survey
showing weaker-than-expected domestic manufacturing activity in
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 0.1% at 6,167.00.
It lost 0.8% in a week riddled with market volatility driven by
developments in the U.S. coronavirus relief deal.
With the U.S. Presidential elections less than two weeks
away and a stimulus deal still elusive, investor caution was set
in after the conclusion of the final debate between President
Donald Trump and his Democrat challenger Joe Biden on Thursday.
"Neither side will commit to a deal now this close to the
election. If it can be used to gain some leverage by either
side, nothing will be agreed upon," said Brad Smoling, managing
director at Smoling Stockbroking.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said negotiators were
making progress in talks with the White House for another round
of COVID-19 stimulus, but Senate Republicans remained skeptical
of a possible deal.
On the domestic front, a preliminary IHS Markit survey
showed Australian manufacturing activity in October expanded at
a weaker pace than last month, as coronavirus-driven lockdowns
in parts of the country continued to hamper economy recovery.
Gold stocks fell 2.5% to its lowest since Oct. 7, as
gold prices were hit by a stronger dollar.
De Grey Mining lost about 5%, while Regis Resources
closed 4.3% lower.
The mining index lost 1% to close at its lowest
since Oct. 7, weighed by BHP Group and Rio Tinto
falling about 1% each.
In a bright spot, energy stocks finished 1.2% higher
boosted by higher oil prices, with Santos and Woodside
Petroleum gaining 3.9% and 1.2%, respectively.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index gained
0.5%at 12,470.34. On a weekly basis, the benchmark has gained
0.5%, extending a four-week winning streak.
Meridian Energy advanced 3.8%, while Mercury NZ
(Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren