Australian stocks end lower as banks enforce tighter regulations


* Big Four banks fall between 0.8% and 2%

* Tech stocks follow Wall Street higher

* RBNZ raises key rate by 25 basis points (updates to be closed)

October 6 (Reuters) – Australian stocks ended lower on Wednesday as heavyweight banks slipped on tighter lending regulations, while tech stocks followed overnight gains on Wall Street.

The S & P / ASX 200 Index reduced its initial gains to close 0.6% lower at 7,206.5. The benchmark index stabilized at 0.4% on Tuesday.

Australia’s banking regulator on Wednesday tightened restrictions on home loans and signaled possible new measures, saying the rapid growth in lending that has fueled soaring house prices poses a risk to financial stability.

“Financial stocks appear to have borne the brunt of the prudential regulator’s decision to increase loan service rates,” said Kunal Sawhney, CEO of Kalkine Group.

Financials fell 0.9%, with the Big Four falling between 0.8% and 2%.

Tech stocks, however, posted gains, with Microsoft and Apple leading a strong rebound in growth stocks on Wall Street.

Buy now-pay-later giant Afterpay closed up 3%, while software solutions provider TechnologyOne Ltd was up 1.7%.

Energy stocks also rose, supported by strong oil prices.

Shares of Whitehaven Coal Ltd, Yancoal Australia and New Hope Corp closed near highs near mid-2019, as coal prices soared due to supply difficulties catching up with demand, particularly in major Chinese consumers.

New Zealand’s benchmark S & P / NZX 50 ended down 0.3% at 13,166.44.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has raised interest rates for the first time in seven years and has announced further tightening ahead, as it seeks to weather inflationary pressures and cool its boiling real estate market . (Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bangalore; editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

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