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Australia shares end flat on UK election uncertainty; NZ falls for 4th day


[BENGALURU] Australian shares ended little changed on Friday as no clear winner emerged from Britain's parliamentary election.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.02 per cent, or 1.023 points to 5,677.8 at close of trade. For the week, it lost 1.9 per cent, its first such loss in three weeks.

With 633 out of 650 seats declared in the UK elections, the Conservatives had won 308 seats and were therefore no longer able to reach the 326-mark they would need to command a parliamentary majority. Labour had won 258 seats.

Among Aussie stocks, miners BHP and Rio Tinto contributed most to gains on the benchmark, rising one per cent and 1.4 per cent, respectively, with Rio hitting its highest close in over a week.

Gains in Qantas Airways of 3.3 per cent also buoyed the benchmark.

National Australia Bank, Woodside Petroleum and Telstra shares were the biggest drags on the index, falling between 0.7 per cent and 2.3 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended 0.3 per cent, or 22.56 points, to 7,436.1, posting its fourth straight session of losses.

On the week, the index lost 0.9 per cent, its worst week since late March.

Industrial stocks led the falls as Auckland International Airport and Port of Tauranga shed 1.4 per cent and 1.6 per cent.

Australia's stock market will be closed on Monday for a public holiday and will resume trading on Tuesday.