XEJ 1.00% 11,117 s&p/asx 200 energy

News: XEJ Australian shares fall on U.S. earnings caution; NZ slips

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    • Energy stocks major gainers on Aussie benchmark
    • Gold stocks push mining index lower
    • Healthcare stocks advance

    Australian shares declined on Tuesday as losses in financial and gold stocks capped broader gains driven by the energy sector.

    The S&P/ASX 200 index (xjo) fell 0.2 percent to 6,212.10 by 0113 GMT. The benchmark had ended 0.7 percent higher on Monday.

    On Wall Street, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq edged into positive territory, but the gains were checked by falling industrials as investors braced for the first quarter of contracting earnings since 2016.

    "There is not a lot of conviction out of the U.S. market as well as the Aussie market," said Christopher Conway, senior investment advisor at Marcus Today. "That is because of lot of macro issues, which are at play including the U.S-China trade talks and the expectations of decline in earnings per share during the U.S. reporting season."

    Financials, the largest sector in the benchmark, were the main drag on the market with all Big Four banks trading between 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent lower.

    The financial sub-index .AXFJ slid up to 0.6 percent in morning trade.

    Gold stocks .AXGD snapped two sessions of gains to drop up to 1 percent with prominent miners of the yellow metal Newcrest Mining Ltd (NCM) and Evolution Mining Ltd (EVN) both weaker.

    The losses in gold firms weighed on the metals and mining index .AXMM despite index heavyweights BHP Group (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) putting on about 0.1 percent each.

    China's steel futures on Monday surged on a seasonal upturn in demand, lending support to prices for iron ore, which extended a record-breaking rally fuelled by worries over tightening supply.

    Copper prices also rose on news of fresh stimulus measures in top metals consumer China and hopes for a Sino-U.S. trade deal.

    Energy stocks were among the major gainers with oil prices up about 2 percent, hitting five-month highs on expectations that supply would tighten due to fighting in Libya, OPEC-led cuts and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.

    The energy index .AXEJ gained as much as 1.8 percent with Beach Energy Ltd (BPT) up about 4 percent while Santos Ltd (STO) put on 2.6 percent.

    Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index (nz50) dropped slightly, falling 0.1 percent to 9,795.04.

    Billing service provider Gentrack Group Ltd (GTK) was among the top percentage gainers on the benchmark, advancing about 2 percent, while retirement village operator Summerset Group Holdings Ltd (SUM) shed more than 2 percent.

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