* Gold stocks lead losses on Aussie benchmark
* Beach Energy plummets 24%
* ASX delivers best month in five
* NZX50 up 0.13%
April 30 (Reuters) – Australian shares ended lower on Friday, with Beach Energy’s trading update weighing on sentiment, even as the index marked its best month in five.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.8% to 7,025.8 points, backing away from the previous session’s 14-month peak.
Beach Energy Ltd led losses as it plunged 24% after slashing reserve estimates and earnings outlook following a review of declining output at its Western Flank field in South Australia.
Monthly manufacturing data from China pointed to a slow recovery and slackening demand in the world’s second-biggest economy and what it would mean for Australia, its top trade partner, James Tao, market analyst at CommSec said.
“The traders are just engaging in some end-of-month profit-taking and it is dragging down the market today and the negative trading announcements from index giants didn’t help the matter any further,” he added.
Gold stocks tumbled 2.2%, with the country’s biggest producer Newcrest Mining shedding up to 2.6% as bullion eased due to higher U.S. Treasury yields denting its appeal.
The energy subindex skidded 1.7%, hurt by Beach Energy and a fall in oil prices due to concerns over wider lockdowns in major oil consumers India and Brazil.
Heavyweights Woodside Petroleum Ltd and Viva Energy Group eased as much as 1.8% each.
Among individual stocks, U.S.-based ResMed Inc slumped after a tax dispute led the sleep apnoea specialist to post a quarterly loss.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.13% to 12,731.1. ($1=1.2858 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Riya Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)