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Australia, NZ: Shares slip as Trump immigration policy dents confidence

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[LONDON] Australian shares ended lower for a second straight session on Tuesday, joining a global selloff in equity markets after United States immigration curbs imposed by President Donald Trump dented investor confidence.

US shares posted their worst day this year on Monday after Mr Trump's Friday executive order, which barred Syrian refugees and suspended entry for citizens of seven countries, put the spotlight back on his protectionist views.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 40.6 points or 0.72 per cent to 5,620.9 at the close of trade.

BHP Billiton spearheaded losses in material shares after workers at its Escondida copper mine in Chile rejected the company's latest wage offer and said they were confident a strike would be approved.

Rio Tinto slipped 1.7 per cent, adding to losses for the metals index, which ended 1.8 per cent lower.

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Financials shed 0.6 per cent, with all 'Big Four'banks losing 0.6 per cent to 0.9 per cent.

The energy index slipped 1.7 per cent to its lowest in around five weeks, following losses in oil prices that fell 5 per cent from their early January peak.

Woodside Petroleum lost 2.14 per cent and Beach Energy slipped 1.3 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.49 per cent or 34.8 points to finish at 7,050.76.

Utility shares led losses, with Meridian Energy ending 4 per cent lower.

Fuel supplier Z Energy slipped 2.3 per cent, to its lowest in around three weeks, on lower fuel prices.


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