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Australia: Shares start 2016 on a tepid note

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Australian shares gave up early gains to end 0.5 per cent lower on Monday led by losses in banks as a sell-off in Chinese equities dampened risk sentiment.

[SYDNEY] Australian shares gave up early gains to end 0.5 per cent lower on Monday led by losses in banks as a sell-off in Chinese equities dampened risk sentiment.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 23.36 points to 5,270.50 at the close of trade. Earlier in the session, the benchmark had risen as much as 0.7 per cent.

The Australian benchmark index fell 2.1 per cent in 2015, its first annual loss in four years as slumping iron ore and metal prices hit blue-chip mining stocks, while onerous capital rules hurt the heavyweight banking sector.

New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 index was shut for a public holiday and will re-open on Tuesday.

REUTERS

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