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Australia: Shares end firmer in subdued trade; NZ inches down

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The S&P/ASX 200 index finished 0.7 per cent, or 45.7 points, higher at 6,752.6.

[SYDNEY] Resources and banking stocks helped Australian equities end higher amid low-volume trade on Wednesday, while takeover buzz propelled travel site Webjet Ltd's shares to the top of the benchmark.

The S&P/ASX 200 index finished 0.7 per cent, or 45.7 points, higher at 6,752.6. The benchmark closed 0.3 per cent lower on Tuesday.

In the absence of concrete signals from the US-China trade front, trading levels in the Australian stock market have dipped over the past week ahead of a weekend deadline when new US tariffs against Chinese goods are set to kick in.

Other big risk events on the horizon, such as the US Federal Reserve's policy meeting and Britain's election, are also keeping risk appetite in check, said Nick Twidale, general manager at IC Markets.

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"(However,) I think some of the people that have been staying on the side feel that they may not get better levels to get in so they've come through today and we've seen a decent day," he added.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index inched down 7.74 points to end at 11,291.96.

SKY Network Television Ltd declined the most, down 5.2 per cent.

New Zealand cut its growth forecast for 2019/2020 and flagged a budget deficit, but announced a significant lift in capital spending to bolster the economy.

REUTERS