ReutersReuters

Australian shares fall as bleak U.S. data dims risk appetite

Australian shares fell on Friday, tracking losses on Wall Street overnight, as a contraction in U.S. manufacturing activity for November overshadowed mild easing in inflation and solid consumer spending.

The S&P/ASX 200 index XJO fell 0.4% to 7,326.90 by 2351 GMT, on track to snap a three-day rally. The benchmark closed 0.9% higher on Thursday.

S&P 500 SPX and Dow Jones DJI slid on Thursday after data showed U.S. manufacturing activity contracted for the first time in 2-1/2 years in November as higher borrowing costs weighed on demand.

In Australia, energy stocks XEJ fell 0.8% as Brent crude oil futures settled lower.

Heavyweights Woodside Energy WDS and Santos STO declined 1.1% and 0.1% respectively.

Coronado Global Resources CRN slid as much as 7.2%, making it the top loser on the ASX 200, after the coal miner flagged persistent rains in Queensland had impacted production volumes and mining costs per tonne at Curragh Coal Mine.

Financials XFJ dipped 0.9% with the "Big Four" banks losing between 0.4% and 0.9%.

Miners XMM slipped 0.3% as Dalian iron ore futures inched lower.

BHP Group BHP and Rio Tinto RIO fell 0.5% and 0.3%, respectively. Fortescue Metals Group FMG gained about 0.1%

Local gold stocks XGD, meanwhile, jumped 2.6%, making them the top percentage gainers on the benchmark. Gold prices rose on the prospect of slower rate hikes from the Federal Reserve and signs of cooling U.S. inflation.

Newcrest Mining NCM and Northern Star Resources NST jumped 3% and 2%, respectively.

Tech stocks XIJ and property stocks (.AXRE) fell 0.2% and 1.9%, respectively.

In other news, Bigtincan Holdings BTH surged as much as 14.7%, making it among the top gainers on the ASX All Ordinaries Index (.AORD), after it got an A$441.9 million ($301.07 million) buyout bid from private equity firm SQN Investors.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index NZ50G fell 0.6% to 11,588.17.

($1 = 1.4678 Australian dollars)

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