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Australia, NZ shares fall amid renewed trade-war concerns

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares fell to an over two-week low on Thursday after Canadian authorities arrested a senior executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei for extradition to the United States, sparking fears of a fresh clash between Washington and Beijing.

The arrest put another layer of cloud over Sino-US trade talks, souring risk sentiment that has already been battered by a flattening of US Treasury yields and slackening global economic growth.

The S&P/ASX 200 index extended losses to a third straight session as it dropped 0.2 per cent or 10.70 points to 5,657.7 at the close of trade. The benchmark fell 0.8 per cent on Tuesday.

Most sectors ended the day lower, with the metals and mining index slumping 1.2 per cent, hurt by weaker metal prices.

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BHP Group Ltd, the biggest firm by market value, and Rio Tinto tumbled 1.4 and 2 per cent, respectively.

Financial stocks lost 0.6 per cent in the session.

Top lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell 0.5 per cent, while National Australia Bank Ltd slid about 1 per cent to its lowest in more than two-weeks.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dipped 0.3 per cent or 23.31 points lower to finish the session at 8,758.220.

Financials and consumer non-cyclicals dragged the index, with NZ listed shares of Australia and New Zealand Bank easing 1.5 per cent and heavyweight A2 Milk losing 2.7 per cent.

REUTERS