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Australia: Shares end lower, NZ shares hit record after rate cut

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[MELBOURNE] Australian shares slipped 0.14 per cent on Thursday as oil prices retreated and pressured energy stocks, but New Zealand stocks struck a record high after its central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates.

The S&P/ASX 200 index finished down 7 points at 5,150.1. The benchmark gained nearly 1 per cent on Wednesday, but stopped short of tough resistance around the week's peak of 5,182.5, its highest since early January.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index hit a record of 6,513.62 points, before easing to end the day up 51 points, or 0.79 per cent, at 6508.28 points.

New Zealand's central bank cut its cash rate by 25 basis points to an all-time low of 2.25 per cent on Thursday and indicated that further cuts might be necessary in the months ahead.

The drop in rates made stocks paying dividends look more attractive.

REUTERS

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