Australia: Shares held back by energy sector as oil slides

[SYDNEY] Australian shares ended flat on Thursday with gains in banking stocks mostly offset by losses in the energy sector as brent crude fell to a four-year low.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.09 per cent, or 4.69 points, higher at 5,400.90, having rallied 1.2 per cent in the previous session.

Oil and gas producer Santos shed 3.1 per cent to A$11.61, while Woodside Petroleum dipped 2.8 per cent to A$38.47.

Some commodity fund managers believe oil prices could slide to US$60 per barrel if OPEC does not agree a significant output cut when it meets in Vienna later on Thursday.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index eased 0.04 per cent, or 2.01 points, to end at 5,455.38.


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