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Banking stocks drag Australia shares lower on inflation anxiety

Nov 17 (Reuters) - Australia shares dipped on Wednesday, dragged lower by financials with Commonwealth Bank of Australia leading the losses after the top lender flagged margin pressure, while resource-related stocks were subdued on weaker commodity prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.2% at 7409.100 points, as of 1121 GMT. The benchmark closed 0.7% lower on Tuesday.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia dropped 7.6% to mark its worst session since March 2020 after it signalled that fierce competition was hurting its margins. The country’s biggest lender lost about A$14 billion in market cap since its last close on Tuesday.

The broader financials index shed as much as 2.6% in its biggest one-day percentage fall in more than six weeks, with the other three “Big Four” banks also trading in the red amid broadening inflationary pressures.

Miners dropped 0.8% on weaker iron ore and copper prices, dragged lower by heavyweight miner BHP Group, down over 1%.

Australian gold stocks retreated 1.8% to deliver their worst day in more than two weeks as a firmer greenback made bullion more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Gold miner Pantoro Ltd fell 4.8% to be the top percentage loser in the sub-index.

Bucking the trend, tech stocks tracked their U.S. peers higher to head towards their fourth straight session of gains, with index major Afterpay Ltd adding up to 2.4% to be the top performer.

All major indexes closed higher on Wall Street after the U.S. October retail sales data signaled solid consumer health.

Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.2% to 12,881.900 points to hit its lowest level in nearly three months.

Software maker Vista Group International Ltd and Vital Healthcare Property Trust were among the worst performers on the NZX 50.

In other markets, the S&P 500 E-minis futures were up 0.04%. (Reporting by Yamini C S; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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