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Aussie shares end flat as commodities weigh; NZ slips

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares ended effectively flat on Wednesday, undermined by losses in commodities, after a sour start to earnings season on Wall Street and growing fears of an imminent US interest rate hike hurt sentiment.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 5.2 points or 0.09 per cent or lower at 5474.60.

Materials and energy stocks dragged a little on the benchmark index, with large cap miners BHP Billiton Ltd ending down 1.5 per cent and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd closing 2.9 per cent lower.

Sentiment was also affected by a weak Australian dollar which slumped to a three-week low, and an overnight drop in oil prices.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index hit a 12-week low before closing down 0.24 per cent or 16.77 points lower to finish the session at 7107.460.

Most of the index constituents fell with tech stocks leading the losses, while financials and utilities were the only gainers.

Xero Ltd and Summerset Group Holdings Ltd shed over 2 per cent and were the worst performers on the index.