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Australia shares end at over 1-week low, Treasury Wine slides; NZ up
[BENGALURU] Australian shares ended lower on Thursday as the country's second largest bank by market cap went ex-dividend, and Treasury Wine Estates tumbled, though gains in materials and energy sectors helped limit the overall losses.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 12.7 points, or 0.2 per cent lower at 6,094.30 - the weakest level in over a week.
Westpac Banking Corp fell to its lowest close in nearly two weeks, declining 3.7 per cent as it traded ex-dividend. The other three of the "Big Four" banks ended higher between 0.3 per cent and 0.8 per cent.
Shares of Treasury Wine Estates were the worst performer on the index, slumping 6.2 per cent to their lowest close in over a month.
The wine maker said it is facing delays in getting clearance for some of its shipments to China, raising wider concerns about Australia-China trade relations.
Toll-road operator Transurban Group fell 1.7 per cent after Australia's competition regulator raised concerns about the effects on inter-toll road competition from a proposed 51 per cent stake purchase in WestConnex motorway.
Support for the market came from a rally for Australian miners which helped limit losses on the benchmark, with the mining index closing at its highest in over six years.
BHP posted its highest close in over 3-1/2-years and Rio Tinto rose 2.4 per cent to over a seven-year closing high.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended 0.6 per cent, or 47.87 points lower at 8,603.38.
The country's newly elected Labour party unveiled its first budget on Thursday with billions of dollars in additional funding for housing, health and education, while also pledging to reduce its debt burden as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product.
Consumer staples were the best performers on the benchmark with A2 Milk Company recouping some of the previous day's losses to close 4.2 per cent higher.