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Australia: Shares end down as new US-China tariffs trigger caution

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Australian shares, led by energy stocks, edged lower on Monday, with investors unsettled by the latest blows traded by the United States and China in their tariff war.

[SYDNEY] Australian shares, led by energy stocks, edged lower on Monday, with investors unsettled by the latest blows traded by the United States and China in their tariff war.

The "level of trust from both sides has deteriorated substantially following rounds of tariff escalation," Mizuho analysts said in a note to clients.

The S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 0.4 per cent to 6,579.40 at the close of trade, following a 1.5 per cent climb on Friday.

The energy index dropped a percent as the heightened trade war tensions hit oil prices, due to concerns that demand for crude will suffer if global growth slows.

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Oil and gas heavyweights Santos and Woodside Petroleum slipped about 1 per cent each at close, while Oil Search ended the session about 1.4 per cent lower.

Financial stocks ended about 0.3 per cent lower, with three of the "big four" lenders trading down.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index finished 0.4 per cent higher at 10,800.00, buoyed by Ryman Healthcare and Contact Energy's about 3 per cent gain.

REUTERS