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Australia: Shares end a touch higher, NZ dips


[SYDNEY] Australian stocks steadied on Thursday after two punishing days thanks in part to a tentative bounce in some bank stocks, while upbeat profits saw appliance-maker Breville top the leader board.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.1 per cent, or 6.2 points, at 4,881.20. The benchmark shed 2.5 per cent in the past two sessions.

Most of the major banks enjoyed some reprieve. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corp all finished higher. Commonwealth Bank eased 0.4 per cent.

The standout performer was kitchen appliance maker Breville, which surged 12.1 per cent after posting higher first-half profit and increasing its interim dividend. The market appeared to have shrugged off the company's warning of a "more unpredictable'future.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index took a breather after two sessions of gains. The benchmark dipped 0.1 per cent, or 5.1 points, to close at 6,225.28.


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