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Australia: Shares close down for second week after hitting 6-month low

Australian shares bucked a poor performance by Wall Street to edge 0.6 per cent higher on Thursday, aided by a hunt for dividend yield and more merger action.

[SYDNEY] Australian shares edged down 0.58 per cent on Friday as gold and energy stocks took a beating and as investors took profits before the weekend.

The energy sector fell 3.2 per cent to a near 10-year low as global oil prices fell sharply.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 31.368 points to 5356.500 by the close of trade. The benchmark hit its lowest level since January in afternoon trading and had its second straight week of losses, falling 2.2 per cent on the week. Australian shares ended up slightly 0.1 per cent on Thursday.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.72 per cent or 41.24 points to finish the session at 5,696.450.