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Australia: Shares end at 5-wk low as iron ore worries outweigh US promise


[SYDNEY] Australian shares edged down to a five-week low on Thursday as underlying worries about a slump in iron ore prices and the demand outlook eclipsed encouraging US economic data.

After opening slightly higher, the S&P/ASX 200 index quickly lost ground and closed down 9.44 points or 0.2 per cent to 5306.8, its lowest since Oct 17. The benchmark has now fallen for five straight sessions, and is trading at a 0.8 per cent discount to levels at the end of 2013.

It has lost 4.4 per cent since Nov 7.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index lost 0.6 per cent or 31.14 points to finish the session at 5495.81.