Australia shares pulled down by bluechips, Warrnambool soars

Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:18pm EST
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(Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)

SYDNEY Nov 18 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell 0.6 percent on Monday, pulled down by bluechip stocks in a broad sell-off after a bullish October, though sentiment was buoyed by Wall Street hitting new highs and a surge in takeover-target Warrnambool Cheese.

Banks and defensive stocks led the market lower, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia falling 0.7 percent, Westpac Banking Corp slipping 0.2 percent and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group losing 0.7 percent.

Blood products maker CSL Ltd shed 0.8 percent while top communications provider Telstra Corporation Ltd fell 0.7 percent.

"We've had a really strong run - perhaps some of this money has been switched out because some IPOs are coming into the market," said Lucinda Chan, division director at Macquarie Private Wealth.

"People are taking a bit of profit so they can buy into IPOs because there's a lot of new issues coming out of the market."

Consumer electronics retailer Dick Smith's IPO is due in December, while online jobs marketplace Freelancer Ltd soared on its debut last week. Australia's IPO market has picked up with more than $1 billion raised in the first three quarters of 2013 compared with $227 million over the same period a year earlier.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 30 points to 5,371.7 by 0046 GMT. The benchmark gained nearly 1 percent on Friday after dovish comments by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair nominee Janet Yellen.

The index has traded sideways for November, hovering around the 5,400 mark as investors fretted over when the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin to taper its massive bond-buying programme.   Continued...