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Australia: Shares wobble after strong start; down 2.5% for the week

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 fell 0.6 per cent on Friday led by losses in banks after US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said she expects the central bank to begin raising rates later this year.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 29.57 points to end near day's lows at 5,042.1. It earlier hit an intra-day high of 5,116.3. The benchmark rose 1.5 per cent on Thursday.

The index ended the week down 2.5 per cent, after two straight weekly gains. It has lost 3.2 per cent in September so far, after falling 8.6 per cent in August - its worst monthly performance since the global financial crisis.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.19 per cent or 10.54 points to finish the session at 5,687.35.