* ASX 200 briefly set a record high of 7,334.90
* Miners top gainers, snap 3-day losing streak
* Woolworths marks worst session in 6-weeks
June 9 (Reuters) - Australian shares pulled back from record
highs to end lower in thin trade on Wednesday, weighed down by
declines in financial stocks and supermarket giant Woolworths.
The S&P/ASX 200 index gained as much as 0.6% in
early trading but reversed course to close 0.3% lower at
7,270.2. It ended 0.1% higher on Tuesday.
"We are searching for direction. Having hit record highs, we
are searching for the next leg up, but it's hard to get enthused
about the market at the moment," said Henry Jennings, senior
analyst at Marcustoday Financial Newsletter.
The heavyweight financial sector fell 0.5%, with
National Australia Bank closing at a nearly three-week
low. The rest of the "Big Four" banks also closed in the red.
Australia's biggest supermarket chain Woolworths
shed 1.9%, its sharpest fall in six weeks, after local media
reported that an independent review found failings by the firm
over its plan to build a liquor store near alcohol-free
communities in Darwin.
Gold stocks also saw losses, with sector heavyweight
Newcrest Mining dropping 0.7%.
Australia's major miners were a bright spot, with Fortescue
Metals Group rising 1%, while the broader sector
Reserve Bank of Australia's assistant governor, Chris Kent,
said on Wednesday the central bank's policy measures will
continue to deliver "very stimulatory monetary conditions" until
inflation and employment targets are met.
Producer prices in China, Australia's largest trading
partner, rose at their fastest annual pace in over 12 years in
May on surging commodity prices, although that has yet to
translate into much higher consumer prices.
Adding to dour sentiment, a measure of Australian consumer
sentiment fell for a second month in June as a lockdown in
Victoria state darkened the mood despite signs of strength
across the economy.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.4%
higher at 12,566.5, with movie software maker Vista Group
as the top gainer.
(Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by