SYDNEY - Australian shares slipped 0.3 per cent on Monday as news that China might introduce a nationwide property tax to curb prices offset positive US jobs data, with investors also locking in profits on banks' recent stellar run.
Banks weighed on the market, after three of the "Big Four" - Westpac Banking Corp, National Australia Bank and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group - just went ex-dividend later last week. Top lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell 1 per cent, and ANZ lost 1.7 per cent.
Miners BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd pulled back 0.1 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively, paring earlier gains.
The S&P/ASX 200 index lost 13.6 points to 5,387.1.
The benchmark fell 0.2 per cent last week, snapping four weeks of consecutive gains.
Explosives maker Orica Ltd surged 12 per cent to a five-month high after the company reported a big jump in full-year profit and said its 2014 profit would exceed that of 2013.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.6 per cent to 4,922.2.