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Australia: Shares close flat, banks remain a drag


[SYDNEY] Australian shares ended flat on Friday and capped off the week with declines as another poor performance by the banks kept a lid on the market.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended barely changed at 5,664.7. On the week, the benchmark index shed 1.2 per cent.

All the big four banks ended in the red led by a 0.54 per cent fall in Commonwealth Bank. They have dropped more than 10 per cent in the past few weeks on concerns about their earnings outlook.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index edged up 0.1 per cent, or 6.8 points, to 5,776.0. On the week, the index rose 0.3 per cent.