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Australia: Financials, real estate dent shares

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[SYDNEY]Australian shares ended lower on Tuesday, pressured by losses in financials and real estate stocks as investors worried about their outlooks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index declined 0.8 per cent, or 47.87 points to finish the session at 5,757.30.

Australia's real estate investment trusts (REITs) face a combination of severe cyclical consumer slowdown and structural pressure from e-commerce, which is affecting retail margins and reducing demand for physical space, Morgan Stanley in a note.

Financial stocks also weighed on the index with the "big four" banks ending between 0.7 and 1.9 per cent lower.

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Moody's Investors Service on Monday downgraded the long-term credit ratings for those lenders to Aa3 from Aa2, saying it sees elevated risks in the housing sector.

Bucking the trend, consumer discretionary stocks ended higher with gaming company Tatts Group Ltd closing 3.6 per cent higher.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended 0.1 per cent lower, snapping five sessions of gains, after hitting an intra-day record high earlier in the day.

Telecommunications and healthcare stocks led the losses in the index. Telecommunications and digital services provider Spark New Zealand Ltd fell 1.3 per cent while Ryman Healthcare Ltd declined 1.4 per cent.

Air New Zealand Ltd was among the top gainers on the benchmark, ending up 1.9 per cent to its highest close in nearly 16 years.

The airline said its passenger numbers had grown in May and that a decline in a key revenue measure had moderated.

REUTERS

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