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Australia, NZ: Shares close lower ahead of ECB meeting

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares ended lower on Thursday, as investors tread with caution ahead of a European Central Bank meeting later in the day.

The ECB is expected to respond to pressure for further easing by announcing an extension to its asset purchase programme by year-end, a Reuters poll showed.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.7 per cent, or 38.45 points, lower at 5,385.80 at the end of trade. The benchmark rose marginally on Wednesday.

Dragging down the benchmark were by basic material and financials stocks.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index lost 0.5 per cent, or 36.38 points, to finish the session at 7,534.73.


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