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Australia: Shares snap four-day winning streak as banks, miners weaken

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[SYDNEY] Australian shares ended lower on Monday, snapping four sessions of gains, with declines led by the country's big banks, though basic material stocks also weakened.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 33.214 points, or 0.6 per cent to 5,754.9 at the close of trade.

While a terror attack in London over the weekend and disappointing US jobs data released on Friday hurt sentiment, there was also some concern that Australian gross domestic product data due for release on Wednesday could prove disappointing, analysts said.

"There is also worry that over all the Australian economy is slowing down. You've got investors reducing exposure," said Mathan Somasundaram, market portfolio strategist at Blue Ocean Equities in Sydney, said.

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The financial index dropped 1.5 per cent, with the 'Big 4' banks losing between 1.3 per cent and 1.8 per cent.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank fell 4.4 per cent to its lowest in nearly seven months after an announced change in the accounting treatment for its homesafe unit was poorly received.

Miners BHP and Rio Tinto both fell 1 per cent, as concerns over Chinese demand remained despite a survey showing the Chinese services sector expanded at its fastest in four months in May.

"The services data today was quite strong but the market doesn't believe that the Chinese can keep this up. So in the short term there is a little bit of panic setting in," Somasundaram said.

Energy stocks reversed, with the energy index inching 0.2 per cent up as global oils prices rose more than 1 per cent on Monday.

Origin Energy and WorleyParsons gained 1 per cent each, while Woodside Petroleum trimmed losses, to end 0.3 per cent lower.

The New Zealand stock market was closed for a holiday.

REUTERS

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