* Energy stocks weigh on New Zealand's benchmark index
* Rio Tinto posts near 5% drop in Q3 iron ore shipments
* Aussie healthcare stocks mark worst intraday in 2 weeks
Oct 16 (Reuters) - Australian shares slipped on Friday as
weak iron ore prices pressured heavyweight mining stocks, with
waning hopes for additional U.S. fiscal stimulus before the
presidential election weighing on market sentiment globally.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.3% to 6,193.40 by
0003 GMT, after settling 0.5% higher in the previous session.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slipped
0.5% ahead of the election results on Saturday.
An opinion poll showed current Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
from the Labour Party is widely expected to beat her main rival,
National Party leader Judith Collins, on the back of her success
in tackling the novel coronavirus.
In her campaign, Ardern has vowed to encourage
environment-friendly solutions to reduce carbon emissions by
phasing out coal-fired boilers as climate change is considered a
key issue in the election.
Electricity retailers Contact Energy Ltd and
Meridian Energy Ltd were the top losers on the New
Zealand index, losing 4.4% and 3.1%, respectively.
In Australia, stocks tracked overnight losses on Wall Street
as U.S. President Donald Trump's offer to raise the size of a
fiscal stimulus package failed to woo investors, with most
believing a deal seemed unlikely before the Nov. 3 election.
The Australian metals and mining index fell 0.3%,
weighed down by lower iron ore prices.
Global miner Rio Tinto was down 0.5% after
reporting a near 5% drop in third-quarter shipments of the
steel-making ingredient. Rival BHP Group Ltd dipped
Healthcare stocks gave up 1%, marking their biggest
intraday drop in two weeks, with biotech giant CSL Ltd
dragging down the sub-index.
Banking stocks were slightly up with the "Big Four"
lenders rising between 0.2% and 0.4%.
Auto parts maker GUD Holdings Ltd jumped 4% to a
near seven-month, making it one of the top gainers on the
benchmark, after Citi upgraded the stock on strong quarterly
(Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by