Australian shares fall as bleak U.S. data dims risk appetite

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 Australian shares fall as bleak U.S. data dims risk appetite
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Dec 2 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Friday, tracking losses on Wall Street overnight, as a contraction in U.S. manufacturing activity for November overshadowed mild easing in inflation and solid consumer spending.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.4% to 7,326.90 by 2351 GMT, on track to snap a three-day rally. The benchmark closed 0.9% higher on Thursday.

S&P 500 and Dow Jones slid on Thursday after data showed U.S. manufacturing activity contracted for the first time in 2-1/2 years in November as higher borrowing costs weighed on demand.

In Australia, energy stocks fell 0.8% as Brent crude oil futures settled lower.

Heavyweights Woodside Energy and Santos declined 1.1% and 0.1% respectively.

Coronado Global Resources slid as much as 7.2%, making it the top loser on the ASX 200, after the coal miner flagged persistent rains in Queensland had impacted production volumes and mining costs per tonne at Curragh Coal Mine.

Financials dipped 0.9% with the "Big Four" banks losing between 0.4% and 0.9%.

Miners slipped 0.3% as Dalian iron ore futures inched lower.

BHP Group and Rio Tinto fell 0.5% and 0.3%, respectively. Fortescue Metals Group gained about 0.1%

Local gold stocks, meanwhile, jumped 2.6%, making them the top percentage gainers on the benchmark. Gold prices rose on the prospect of slower rate hikes from the Federal Reserve and signs of cooling U.S. inflation.

Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources jumped 3% and 2%, respectively.

Tech stocks and property stocks fell 0.2% and 1.9%, respectively.

In other news, Bigtincan Holdings surged as much as 14.7%, making it among the top gainers on the ASX All Ordinaries Index, after it got an A$441.9 million ($301.07 million) buyout bid from private equity firm SQN Investors.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.6% to 11,588.17. ($1 = 1.4678 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Echha Jain in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)


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