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Australia: Shares down for third week on recession, trade worries

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Australian shares gained little respite on Friday as they ended a third straight week in the red, hurt by concerns about a global economic slump and signs the US-China trade war would drag on.

[SYDNEY] Australian shares gained little respite on Friday as they ended a third straight week in the red, hurt by concerns about a global economic slump and signs the US-China trade war would drag on.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index closed about 3 points lower at 6,405.5 after staying in positive territory for much of the early part of the day. The index has lost 2.7 per cent for the week.

Global financial markets took fright this week after an inversion in the US bond yield curve - which has presaged several past US recessions - raised fears of a world economic slump and sent investors stampeding out of riskier assets.

While the United States announced earlier in the week that it would delay tariffs on some of the remaining Chinese products it imports, there was little sign both countries would resolve their trade dispute anytime soon.

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The Sino-US dispute has hit global trade and slowed growth in China, Australia's biggest export market.

Domestic mining and gold stocks fell, offsetting gains from financials.

Top miners BHP Group and Rio Tinto dropped 0.6 per cent and 1 per cent, respectively.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended lower for a sixth straight session, posting its post weekly decline since October last year.

REUTERS