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[SYDNEY] Australian shares edged closer to the crucial 6,000 level before retreating on Monday as investors shrugged off an upbeat lead from offshore markets and cashed in profits from the previous week's rally.
The S&P/ASX 200 index hit an intraday high of 5,995.0, nearly making its first foray over 6,000 since February 2008, before backtracking to close down 19.1 points or 0.3 per cent at 5956.1, snapping a three-session winning streak.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 3.9 points or 0.1 per cent to finish the session at 5875.2.