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Aussie, NZ shares end lower as markets seek clarity on Sino-US talks

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares snapped a three-session winning streak on Tuesday, with financials and resources stocks leading broad-based losses as investors were racked by uncertainty over the progress of Sino-US trade talks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.9 per cent or 57.9 points to 6,128.40 at the close of trade, its worst session in nearly two months. The benchmark rose 0.3 per cent on Monday.

After his positive comments over the weekend, US President Donald Trump later struck a cautious note saying a trade deal "could happen fairly soon, or it might not happen at all".

Financial stocks weighed the heaviest on the Australian benchmark, with the big four banks of the country ending about of 0.5 per cent to 1.2 per cent lower.

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The financial subindex saw its worst session in more than two weeks, shedding about 0.9 per cent for the day.

Bourse operator ASX Ltd ended about 3 per cent lower after it said it would sell its nearly 19 per cent stake in wealth manager IRESS Ltd.

Mining stocks, many of which are heavily reliant on Chinese demand, were also pressured. The mining subindex shed about 1 per cent, with heavyweights BHP Group and Rio Tinto ending 1.3 per cent and 0.6 per cent lower respectively.

On a more positive note, petrol station operator Caltex Australia ended about 4.7 per cent higher after reporting a better than forecast annual net profit.

Satellite services provider SpeedCast International Ltd was the best performer on the ASX 200 after it posited a much stronger earnings performance in 2019.

New Zealand shares edged lower as most financial stocks fell in line with their Australian peers. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.2 per cent or 21.5 points to finish the session at 9,323.13.

The New Zealand shares of Westpac Banking Corp and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group ended 0.6 per cent and 1 per cent lower, respectively.

REUTERS