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Australia, NZ: Shares down after Italy rejects reform referendum

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares closed lower on Monday, with losses led by financials, as investors digested the potential impact on the markets of Italy's vote against constitutional reform.

Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced his resignation stoking fears of political instability and renewed turmoil for Italy's banks, pushing the euro zone towards a fresh crisis.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.8 per cent, or 43.62 points, to 5,400.4 at the close of trade.

Financials fell 1.2 per cent, after having gained nearly 10 per cent since the Nov 8 US presidential election.

The "Big Four" banks were among top drags on the main index, falling more than one per cent each.

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Healthcare stocks, which had also gained significantly after the elections tracking counterparts in the US, ended 2 per cent lower.

Biotherapeutics giant CSL Ltd shed 2.5 per cent to hit its lowest since Nov 18, 2015.

In contrast, Duet Group soared 16 per cent higher after Hong Kong's Cheung Kong Infrastructure made a A$7.3 billion (S$7.74 billion) bid for the company.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended 0.7 per cent lower at 6,854.71, after Prime Minister John Key unexpectedly announced his resignation on Monday.

Losses on the index were led by healthcare and consumer discretionary stocks.

Ryman Healthcare Ltd and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp lost 4.1 and 2.0 per cent respectively.


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