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Australia shares down, post worst week since Feb; NZ lower
[BENGALURU] Australian shares fell to their lowest in two weeks, and logged their steepest weekly fall since early February, as a dip in oil and metal prices brought energy and material stocks lower.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was 39.77 points, or 0.7 per cent, lower at 5,836.6 at the close of trade, leading to a 1.5 per cent loss for the week.
Energy stocks Woodside Petroleum and Oilsearch lost 2.7 per cent and 1.8 per cent, respectively, as oil prices fell on supply glut concerns.
Miner BHP Billiton was down 2.7 per cent, while gold stocks Newcrest Mining and St Barbara fell 3.2 per cent and 1.2 per cent, respectively, as iron ore sank on demand worries and on over night losses in copper and gold.
The telecom sector was the only gainer on the index as Telstra surged 4 per cent after the Australian competition watchdog ruled carriers would not be forced to let rivals use their infrastructure.
For the coming session, investors will be looking out for the US jobs data scheduled for later in the day as well as outcome of the final round of French elections over the weekend. Centrist Emmanuel Macron is widely expected to win the elections.
Regionally, investors will be positioning ahead of the Australian budget due May 9, as well as half-year results of Westpac Banking and Commonwealth Bank of Australia, after Australia and New Zealand Bank and National Australia Bank reported this week.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index reversed trend from earlier in the session to end 0.2 per cent, or 12.92 points, lower at 7,365.5. Over the week, the index lost 0.2 per cent.
Spark New Zealand and Fisher and Paykel Healthcare were the biggest drag on the index, down 1.1 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively, while Comvita was the worst performer losing 6.5 per cent.