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A late swoon on Wall Street and disappointing updates from wealth managers helped drive Aussie shares lower for the third time in four sessions. 

The ASX 200 declined 36 points or 0.6 per cent to 6340 as slender gains in tech and defensive stocks were outweighed by declines in banks and miners. 

The financial sector reversed yesterday’s gains as the fallout from the Hayne Royal Commission weighed on profit reports from two industry heavyweights. While NAB’s headline half-year profit of $2.95 billion looked healthy, the company announced it was cutting dividends to preserve capital and scrapping more than $5 million worth of executive bonuses. Directors will share the pain by taking a 20 per cent pay cut. 

Shareholders liked what they heard because the 0.7 per cent drop in the share price was less than the other banks. CBA gave up 1.3 per cent, ANZ 2.6 per cent and Westpac 2.6 per cent. 

AMP fared worse, falling 4.6 per cent after revealing it haemorrhaged customers last quarter following bad press at the Royal Commission. The wealth manager suffered net cash outflows of $1.8 billion as customers voted with their feet in response to the fees-for-no-service scandal. Asset manager Pendal Group also had a shocker, falling 11.4 per cent after reporting a 26 per cent decline in cash net half-year profits after tax. 

Miners were hurt by overnight declines in copper and crude oil. BHP shed 1.3 per cent, Rio Tinto 1.4 per cent and Beach Energy 2.6 per cent. Lithium miners were an exception after Wesfarmers made a takeover offer for Kidman Resources. Kidman surged 43.8 per cent, Pilbara Mining 7.4 per cent and Galaxy Resources 2 per cent. 

Health stocks provided a haven. Ramsay Health Care put on 1.6 per cent, Cochlear 1.5 per cent and CSL 0.8 per cent. 

U.S. stocks reversed overnight after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell dampened hopes of a rate cut before the end of the year. That was not the message traders wanted to hear, and they responded by sending the S&P 500 down 0.75 per cent. The fall would have been greater if not for a 5 per cent jump in index heavyweight Apple. 

Most Asian markets remained closed for public holidays. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.4 percent. 

The financial sector reversed yesterday’s gains as the fallout from the Hayne Royal Commission weighed on profit reports from two industry heavyweights. While NAB’s headline half-year profit of $2.95 billion looked healthy, the company announced it was cutting dividends to preserve capital and scrapping more than $5 million worth of executive bonuses. Directors will share the pain by taking a 20 per cent pay cut. 

Texas crude ticked 19 cents or 0.3 per cent lower this morning to $US63.41 a barrel. Gold had been rising on expectations of a U.S. rate cut and fell $9.10 or 0.7 per cent to $US1,275.10 an ounce after Powell dismissed recent weak inflation as a transitory problem. 

On currency markets, the dollar was buying 70.2 US cents.

Looking ahead, a quieter night in store on Wall Street after last night’s fireworks. Reports are due on jobless claims and factory orders, but the company earnings will likely dominate the spotlight. Here tomorrow we have reports scheduled on services activity and building approvals, plus earnings from Macquarie Group. 

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