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Australia: Shares hit 3-week low as prime minister change falls flat

Australian shares bucked a poor performance by Wall Street to edge 0.6 per cent higher on Thursday, aided by a hunt for dividend yield and more merger action.

[SYDNEY] Australian shares tumbled to a three-week low on Tuesday as the emergence of Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister elect failed to inspire investors, and falling commodity prices sent resources lower.

The changeover of futures contracts set to expire on Sept 15 also generated heavy trading in those derivatives, draining volume from the equities market and exaggerating the fall.

The S&P/ASX 200 index followed overseas markets by falling 1.5 per cent or 78.1 points to 5,018.4, its lowest finish since hitting a two-year low on Aug. 24. The benchmark is down 11 per cent since the start of August.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell 13.5 points or 0.2 per cent to finish the session at 5,652.4.