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Australia: Shares close weaker as financials offset resources gains

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[SYDNEY] Gains in Australian energy and natural resources shares were offset by weakness in financials and discretionary stocks on Tuesday.

The S&P/ASX 200 index dipped 0.14 per cent, or 7.96 points, to 5,532.0 at the close of trade, but remained near the peak of 5,611.2 it touched earlier this month.

It has gained 4.5 per cent so far this year, largely due to falling interest rates and migration from low-return bank deposits.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index took a hit in the second half of the day, shedding 1.05 per cent, or 77.68 points, to finish the session at 7310.67.

Losses from Spark New Zealand Ltd and Fletcher Building Ltd pulled the index down.