Australian shares ease; CBA shines after results

File Photo (Reuters) File Photo (Reuters)

Australian shares eased on Wednesday, hurt by basic materials and energy firms though strong quarterly earnings from Commonwealth Bank of Australia drove its stock up and helped limit broad losses.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.2 per cent, or 10.24 points, to 6,004.1 by 0010 GMT. The benchmark had added 1.0 per cent on Tuesday, after crossing the critical 6,000-point threshold to scale a near 10-year peak.

The declines on the benchmark were broad-based with nine out of 10 sectors in the red.

Basic material stocks were the biggest drag as nickel, copper and aluminium prices fell sharply on Tuesday.

The metals and mining index dropped as much as 1.4 per cent, with global miners BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd falling 1.4 per cent and 1.0 per cent, respectively.

The energy index was down as much as 0.9 per cent, with Beach Energy, the biggest loser on the index, declining about 3.0 per cent.

Financials stocks provided some support to the benchmark index, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia gaining as much as 2.0 per cent, its highest in nearly three months.

Among the other “big-four” banks, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group rose 0.6 percent, while Westpac Banking Corp gained 0.4 per cent.

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