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Australia shares dragged lower by financials; NZ hits record high

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Australian shares finished below 6,000 points on Friday, dragged lower by banks as the country's largest lender faced new claims from the financial crimes watchdog.

[BENGALURU] Australian shares finished below 6,000 points on Friday, dragged lower by banks as the country's largest lender faced new claims from the financial crimes watchdog.

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) added more than 100 new claims against Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) for failing to comply with anti-money laundering laws, including late reporting of attempts to wire money as recently as August by an individual convicted of terror-related offences.

Banking shares fell on the news, with the Australian financials index dipping 0.6 per cent.

CBA fell 0.6 per cent, while National Australia Bank Ltd declined 0.4 per cent.

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The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.2 per cent or 14.300 points to 5,997.0 at the close of trade. The benchmark declined 0.2 per cent on Thursday.

The drop narrowed the index's weekly rise to 0.04 per cent, its fourth consecutive weekly gain and its longest weekly streak since May 2016.

Real estate stocks also piled on losses as investors took profits.

Westfield Corp dropped 1.5 per cent for a second day of losses after it posted a record per centage gain on Wednesday. The company's shares had surged on news it would accept a US$16 billion takeover offer from Unibail-Rodamco.

Conversely, industrial stocks were among the highest per centage gainers on the benchmark.

Transurban Group soared 4.8 per cent to a near six-month high, while Cleanaway Waste Management Ltd ticked up 2.2 per cent to its highest close since February 2009.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index climbed 0.45 per cent or 37.11 points to finish the session at a record high close of 8,360.86. The index is up 1.5 per cent for the week after seven straight days of gains.

Utilities stocks accounted for most of the rise on Friday, with Contact Energy Ltd surging 4.5 per cent to a six-week high. Genesis Energy Ltd climbed 1.6 per cent to its highest level since July 25.

REUTERS

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