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Australia: Energy, miners pull down shares

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Energy and commodity-related firms led losses on the Australian benchmark share index on Thursday, while renewed concerns over US-China trade relations kept investor risk appetite in check.

[SYDNEY] Energy and commodity-related firms led losses on the Australian benchmark share index on Thursday, while renewed concerns over US-China trade relations kept investor risk appetite in check.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.4 per cent lower at 6,649.10. The benchmark rose 0.5 per cent on Wednesday.

Oil prices steadied after initially extending the previous day's decline when data showed US stockpiles of products such as gasoline had risen sharply last week.

The energy sub-index plummeted 2.3 per cent, with its biggest player Woodside Petroleum falling to a six-week low after reporting a 32 per cent decline in second-quarter revenue, missing analyst forecasts by a big margin.

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Australian mining shares slid as iron ore futures in China retreated from record levels after a rally in the steel-making ingredient took it to its highest since 2013. 

Shares of global miner Rio Tinto were off 0.8 per cent, while those of its larger rival BHP Group fell 1.5 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed up 0.8 per cent at 10,741.09.

REUTERS