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Australia shares edge up, aided by Aristocrat Leisure; NZ gains 0.4%

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares snapped a five-day losing streak on Thursday, aided by gains for gambling equipment marker Aristocrat Leisure that helped outweigh a continued fall for financial stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.1 per cent, or 4.60 points, to 6,037.1 at the close of trade. The benchmark declined 0.2 per cent on Wednesday.

Shares of Aristocrat Leisure Ltd climbed 8 per cent to a record after it reported half-year net profit rose 2.8 per cent, with digital revenue more than tripling for the period.

Real estate stocks also gained, with Scentre Group Ltd climbing 1.4 per cent, while Lend Lease Group rose 2.5 per cent.

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Battered by the latest round of an embarrassing inquiry into misconduct in the industry, banks extended losses into a sixth straight session on Thursday. The financial index fell 0.5 per cent to a four week low.

National Australia Bank Ltd declined 1.3 per cent, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia dropped 0.2 per cent to its lowest since Sept. 2016.

Materials also fell, underpinned by lower iron ore and copper prices.

Rio Tinto Ltd was down 1 per cent, while Fortescue Metals Group Ltd slid 0.7 per cent.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.4 per cent or 37.54 points to finish the session at 8,590.77.

Dairy firm a2 Milk Company Ltd rose 4.1 per cent, accounting for most of the benchmark's gains.

REUTERS

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