Aug 30 (Reuters) - Australian shares eased on Monday, as
losses in heavyweight financials outweighed gains in miners led
by Fortescue Metals Group on the back of record annual profit
The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.1% to 7,482.6 by
0106 GMT after closing about 0.4% higher last week.
Financials dropped more than 1%, with all the "Big
Four" banks trading in negative territory. Commonwealth Bank of
Australia, Australia and New Zealand Banking Corp
, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking
Corp fell between 0.8% and 1.4%.
Miners gained as much as 3.4% and were headed for
their best session since May 10. Fortescue jumped 6.2%
to a two-week high after the world's fourth-largest ironore
miner said its annual underlying net profit more than doubled to
Gold stocks rose, benefiting from a jump in bullion
prices after U.S Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell stopped
short of signalling when the central bank would start
withdrawing its economic support.
Newcrest Mining added 1.6%, while Northern Star
Resources jumped 4.7%.
Powell's speech at the Jackson Hole Symposium on Friday
calmed investor fears over the tapering timetable and pushed
major Wall Street indexes to record closing highs.
Crown Resorts Ltd rose 0.6% even after the casino
operator reported an annual loss, hurt by lockdown-driven casino
closures and regulatory costs, and said it was no longer talking
to Oaktree Capital Group over its stake-buy proposal.
Meanwhile, Victoria reported 73 new COVID-19 cases, a day
after Premier Dan Andrews said he would extend lockdown measures
across the country's second-most populous state.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.8%
to 13,160.19. SKY Network Television Ltd jumped 5.4%
and topped the benchmark index.
(Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by