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Australia: Shares end down, pare losses as bargain hunters emerge

[SYDNEY] Australian shares dropped slightly on Wednesday despite recouping some their morning losses as energy-related stocks continued to suffer on the back of sliding oil prices.

Bargain hunters picked up banks and junior miners in afternoon session, helping to stabilise the market somewhat. Gold miners, healthcare stocks and property groups Westfield and Scentre were also in favor.

The S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 0.2 per cent or 11.2 points to 5,353.6 at the close of trade on Wednesday.

The benchmark barely moved in 2014 and has started the new year on a tepid note as the global commodities slump has hit sentiment. On Tuesday, it recorded its biggest drop in percentage terms since Dec 9, closing down 1.6 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index was mostly flat at 5,558.06 points at the close of the session.


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