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Australia, NZ: Australia shares end down, NZ at 2-week lows

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[MELBOURNE] Australian shares slipped 0.15 per cent on Thursday, dragged down by banks and losses at packaging company Amcor Ltd which flagged that it may close some plants.

The S&P/ASX 200 index edged down 8.1 points to 5361.9 points at the close of trade, with losses across most Asian equities adding to the downbeat mood. The benchmark closed barely changed on Wednesday.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index hit the lowest in two weeks at 6967.97, before ending down by 0.3 per cent or 21 points at 6970.55.

The New Zealand dollar soared to a one-year high after the nation's central bank kept interest rates steady as expected, even as some in the market had wagered on a cut.

REUTERS