Australian shares flat as investors wait for outcome of crucial trade talks

[SYDNEY] Australian shares closed flat on Thursday as uncertainty over the outcome of US-China trade talks kept most investors on the sidelines, with small gains in financial stocks outweighing losses in resources.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended the day at 6,547.1. The benchmark lost 0.7 per cent on Wednesday.

Sentiment had dampened following a report that the Chinese delegation was planning to cut short its Washington visit, but a separate report later in the day stating that both nations may resolve some of their disputes provided some relief to markets.

The likelihood of a partial deal remains a more likely scenario than a broad agreement as both economies show signs of slowing down.

Financial stocks tipped higher, helped by gains from Macquarie Group which rose 1 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.5 per cent lower, down for a second session, losing 54 points to finish at 10,886.73.

REUTERS

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