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Australia Stocks drop on weak China Dec trade data

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Headline indices of financial market reversed early gains to finish edged down on Monday, 14 January 2019, as investors continued opting to lock in profits in line with broader Asian peers, amid concerns over an ongoing shutdown and worries about an economic slowdown in after lower-than-expected export and import data for December 2018 stifled last week's optimism ensuing from and progressing on trade talks. sectors were mixed, with shares of energy, materials, and consumer discretionary sectors being notable losers, while consumer staples, communication services, and financial issues were notable gainers. At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 1.21 points, or 0.02%, to 5,773.37 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index dropped 1.61 points, or 0.03%, to 5,833.23 points.

China's exports to the world fell 4.4% in December from a year earlier, the biggest monthly drop in two years, pointing to further weakening in the world's second-largest Imports also unexpectedly contracted, falling 7.6%, the biggest decline since July 2016. China's global trade volume rose last year but its surplus with the world fell 16.2% to $351.76 billion in 2018, as imports rose 15.8% while exports gained 9.9%. The customs data showed that its exports to the U. S. contracted in December 2018 although its overall trade surplus with the U.

S. hit a record $323 billion in 2018. Exports to the U. S. rose 11.3% to $478.4 billion for the year despite punitive tariffs imposed by in a fight over Chinese The customs data showed imports of American goods rose just 0.7% in 2018 over 2017, reflecting the impact of Beijing's retaliatory tariffs and encouragement to importers to buy more from non-U. S. suppliers.

shares of companies were also lower on profit taking after crude prices fell 2% in offshore trade on Friday, ending a nine-day rally. Shares in fell 0.2%, dropped 0.5%, and Search shed 0.8%. was down 1.1% and dropped 0.4%. shares were 0.4% lower, with coal miners and Whitehaven dropping 5.4% and 3.6% respectively.

Materials were the main drag on the market after disappointing Chinese trade data, with dropping 0.24% and down 0.3%. was flat at A$3.40, while plunged 5.2% and dipped 1.3%. Gold miners retreated 0.2%, while and Evolution eked out rises of 0.43 and 0.53% respectively.

CURRENCY: Australian Dollar was tad lower against greenback and against a basket of other peers on Monday. dollar was quoted at 71.85 US cents, after topping out at a three-week peak of 72.35 US cents on Friday.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, January 14 2019. 14:27 IST