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Australia, NZ: Shares inch higher following US presidential debate

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares ended fractionally higher on Wednesday, as investors continued to digest Hillary Clinton's perceived win over Donald Trump in the first US presidential debate, but were under pressure from oil price falls.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 6.51 points or 0.1 per cent to 5,412.4.

Australian energy index shed 1.2 per cent, led by declines in oil and gas explorers Santos Ltd and Beach Energy that fell between two and three per cent.

Power retailer AGL Energy was the biggest percentage gainer on the index after it announced a A$596 million (S$622.33 million) buyback, adding it expects FY17 underlying profit of A$720 million and A$800 million, up from FY16's reported underlying profit of A$701 million.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was up 37.53 points or 0.5 per cent to finish at 7,290.45, led by telecom shares.

Telecom services provider Chorus Ltd was the biggest gainer, up 2.7 per cent.

REUTERS