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Australia: Shares end the day higher

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[SYDNEY] Australian share market gains were capped on Thursday after Standard & Poor's downgraded the nation's credit outlook from stable to negative, while New Zealand shares edged higher.

After rising nearly 1 per cent at the opening, the S&P/ASX 200 index shed some gains to close up 30.4 points, or 0.6 per cent, at 5,227.9. The benchmark is down 1 per cent so far in 2016.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 30.3 points, or 0.4 per cent, to finish the session at 7,007.5.