Oct 19 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed slightly lower
on Tuesday after a volatile session of trade, weighed down by
miners as BHP reported a decline in first-quarter iron ore
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.08% to 7,374.9,
snapping a three-session winning streak. The mining index
, which has broadly underperformed the benchmark so far
this year, dropped 1.6%.
Shares of BHP closed 2% lower after the world's
largest miner posted a near 5% drop in quarterly iron ore output
due to maintenance work at its Jimblebar mine and a shortage of
rail labour caused by COVID-19 border restrictions.
BHP left its annual production outlook unchanged, unlike
rival Rio Tinto which cut its shipments forecast
because of the tight labour market. Rio Tinto and Fortescue
shed 3.25% and 1.2%, respectively.
"Iron ore miners have been under pressure a little more
because of restrictions on steel production in China," said
Steven Daghlian, a market analyst at CommSec.
Financials reversed early gains to close down 0.2%
as the so-called "Big Four" banks slipped between 0.1% and 0.5%.
Daghlian attributed the market uncertainty to concerns over
higher inflation and interest rates, and bond markets.
Tech stocks advanced to their highest in nearly
three weeks, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street boosted by
big tech names. The sub-index gained 1.6%, with Afterpay
Logistics firm Brambles climbed as much as 3.9% as
it reported a surge in quarterly revenue and provided an upbeat
Gaming giant Tabcorp tumbled 2.7% after announcing
plans to split its businesses by mid-2022, with one-off cash
costs between A$225 million and A$275 million.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.52%
(Reporting by Harshita Swaminathan; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)