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Australia: Shares slip as resources drop, NZ edges higher

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[MELBOURNE] Australian shares slipped on Thursday, hurt by falls in mining and energy stocks.

Retailers Metcash and Woolworths, Australia's biggest grocer, were among the top gainers after Woolworths explained details of its exit from a disastrous foray into the home improvement business, with Metcash to purchase some hardware stores.

Mining and energy stocks fell, as oil tumbled and other commodities declined.

The S&P/ASX 200 index gave up 0.36 per cent, or 19.77 points, to close at 5,541.90. The benchmark rose 0.14 per cent on Wednesday.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.23 per cent or 16.98 points to finish the session at 7,427.28.

REUTERS