July 17 (Reuters) – Australian shares edged lower on Monday, dragged down by mining and energy stocks, while investors remained cautious ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) minutes of its July policy meeting and a slew of economic data due later in the week.
The S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO retreated 0.1% to 7,296.2 points by 0035 GMT. The benchmark index was set to snap four sessions of gains, if trend holds.
Minutes of the RBA’s policy meeting on Tuesday will be closely assessed by investors for clues regarding the central bank’s interest rate trajectory.
The RBA will likely deliver a 25-basis-point hike on Aug. 1, according to economists in a Reuters poll. Economists were, however, split on when and where the cost of borrowing would peak.
Investors also await employment data for June due later this week to see if the central bank’s rate-hiking cycle have had the desired effect on the economy.
Heavyweight mining stocks .AXMM fell 0.3% and on track to snap a four-session rally. Shares of sector major Rio Tinto RIO.AX slid 0.3%.
Australian energy stocks .AXEJ tracked oil prices lower to retreat 0.7%. O/R
Shares of Woodside Energy WDS.AX and Santos STO.AX slipped 1.3% and 1%, respectively. Gold stocks .AXGD slid 0.1%.
Capping losses on the benchmark index were financials .AXFJ after three of the “Big Four” banks gained between 0.1% and 0.3%.
Australia’s biggest independent coal miner Whitehaven Coal Ltd WHC.AXreported a 20% slump in fourth-quarter production, but met the lower-end of its full-year outlook, sending shares up nearly 2%.
Shares of IGO
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index .NZ50 retreated 0.2% to 11,988.47 points.
The country’s inflation data is due later this week and will be monitored by investors for direction on the central bank’s stance on interest rates.
(Reporting by John Biju in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.