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Australia shares close lower ahead of US jobs data; NZ flat

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares closed lower for a third consecutive session on Friday as the prospect of strong US jobs data, which could help seal the deal for a Federal Reserve rate rise in the near term, kept investors on tenterhooks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index finished 42.76 points, or 0.8 per cent, lower at 5372.8. The benchmark, which closed 0.3 per cent lower on Thursday, lost about 2.6 per cent, or 142.67 points, on the week.

Aged care facilities operator Estia Health Ltd and health food maker Select Harvest were the day's biggest losers, shedding 6 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.

While the healthcare and telecom services sectors dragged the index down this session, basic materials and telecoms were the week's biggest losers.

Financials shed 1.9 per cent on the week, with Westpac Banking Corp losing 3.1 per cent and Commonwealth Bank of Australia down 3.2 per cent.

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Miners Rio Tinto Ltd and BHP Billiton Ltd lost 2.9 per cent and 4.9 per cent respectively, on the week.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index finished flat at 7426.11 points, with gains in staples, basic materials and technology offset by energy and financials.

Westpac Banking Corp lost 2 per cent, while fuel retailer Z Energy Ltd shed 1.2 per cent. The benchmark gained half a per cent this week.


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