Australia shares slip as gold, metal stocks drag



Sept 24 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Friday, dragged by heavyweight gold and metal stocks on weaker bullion and copper prices overnight, while gains in energy stocks and banks limited the losses.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO fell 0.21% to 7,354.9 points as at 0137 GMT and headed for its third weekly loss.

Gold prices fell about 1% on Thursday, pressured by an uptick in Treasury yields and an appetite for riskier assets, as investors continued to position themselves for a sooner-than-expected interest rate hike from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

In Australia, gold stocks .AXGD fell 2.5% as DGO Gold Ltd DGO.AX lost 5.2% and SSR Mining Inc SSR.AX shed 5%.

Heavyweights Newcrest Mining NCM.AX and Northern Star Resources NST.AX declined as much as 2.1% and 3.2%, respectively.

Miners .AXMM fell 0.8%, with top global miner BHP Group BHP.AX declining 1.4%, as London copper prices softened overnight, pressured by worries of slowing recovery in the United States.

In contrast, the energy index .AXEJ rose 2%, led by Woodside Petroleum WPL.AX gaining 2.9% and Washington H Soul Pattinson and Company Ltd SOL.AX adding 1.7​% as oil prices hit two-month highs on supply worries.

Technology stocks .AXIJ were up more than half a percent, with Computershare Ltd CPU.AX rising 5%, followed by Afterpay Ltd APT.AX gaining 1.1%.

All three major U.S. indexes overnight gained more than 1% as investors took relief in the Fed's stance on tapering stimulus and raising interest rates.

Australian banks .AXFJ rose 0.8%, with the "Big Four" banks advancing up to 1%, while QBE Insurance Group QBE.AX added more than 3%.

Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index .NZ50 fell 0.04% to 13,300.6.

Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei .N225 was up 1.83% at 30,180.69.
Reporting by Aditya Munjuluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.

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