Australia shares slip on Wall St, Super Retail tumbles on result

Reuters - UK Focus

(Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)

SYDNEY, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell 0.3 percent on Friday, dragged down by bluechip stocks as Wall Street lost ground overnight, deflated by a set of disappointing bank earnings.

Among bluechip stocks, the 'Big Four' banks all slipped. Westpac Banking Corp fell 0.8 percent while National Australia Bank lost 0.9 percent.

Elsewhere, consumer staples retailer Wesfarmers Ltd and Australia's biggest telephone company Telstra Corporation (Frankfurt: TSTA.F - news) Ltd both shed 0.7 percent.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 13.2 points to 5,295.9 by 0042 GMT. The benchmark climbed 1.2 percent on Thursday but is set to slip 0.3 percent for the week.

The benchmark has lost 1.1 percent so far in January, with investors cautious of slowing growth in China, Australia's largest export market, and uncertainty over how quickly the U.S. Federal Reserve will curtail its bond-buying programme.

"It's a combination of things: The U.S. share market had a messy start to the year as well, so that's set the tone internationally, and uncertainty about China," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors.

"Locally we did have strong gains at the end of last year. (But) there's still a bit of nervousness about the upcoming profit-reporting season."

Super Retail Group Ltd tumbled 16.1 percent, to trade at 11-month lows of A$10.55, recovering slightly from its earlier rout. The company reported weaker-than-expected first-half results because of the mining slowdown and "internal challenges".

"There was feedback that things were looking softer from industry participants, but they've been a good retailer with a solid track record," said Akshay Chopra, an investment analyst at boutique fund manager Karara Capital in Melbourne.

"The challenges, probably in time they will overcome them, but in the interim there's clearly going to be an impact on earnings, which has now flowed through."

The market's main reprieve was found in the resources sector which rose as Shanghai steel futures hit a 1-week top, but caution capped gains as investors fretted over a wobbly demand outlook.

Heavyweights BHP Billiton Ltd climbed 2.5 percent while rival Rio Tinto Ltd (Xetra: 855018 - news) added 1.3 percent.

Bega Cheese Ltd rose 1.1 percent after the company said it was selling its 18.8 percent stake in Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Holdings Ltd to Saputo (Toronto: SAP.TO - news) . Shares in Warrnambool added 0.1 percent.

Paladin Energy Ltd (Other OTC: PALAF - news) jumped 7.5 percent to 3-1/2 month highs of A$0.53 after it successfully refinanced its Langer Heinrich and Kayelekera project facilities, with a $59 million reduction in debt repayments over 2014 and 2015.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.1 percent to 4,915.7.


(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Eric Meijer)