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Australia: Shares end in red as trade war bites risk appetite

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Australian shares closed lower on Thursday, led by commodity firms and weighed by fresh exchanges in the protracted Sino-US trade war that has hit global investor appetite.

[SYDNEY] Australian shares closed lower on Thursday, led by commodity firms and weighed by fresh exchanges in the protracted Sino-US trade war that has hit global investor appetite.

The S&P/ASX 200 index finished 0.7 per cent, or 47.9 points, lower at 6,392.1. The benchmark has lost nearly 2 per cent since it scaled an 11-year high last week.

"There's no question that the lead that we are getting from the United States, and this is impacting global markets, is substantial uncertainty," said James McGlew, Executive director of corporate stockbroking at Argonaut.

"Markets can price risk well but they cannot price uncertainty."

sentifi.com

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In a recent escalation in the war of words over tariffs, a senior Chinese diplomat described trade provocations as "naked economic terrorism".

And in yet another blow to sentiment, Fitch Ratings said it expects Australia's 2019 gross domestic product growth to hit its lowest since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, despite positive commodity prices.

Resource stocks were hit hardest on the Australian benchmark.

Shares of mining behemoths BHP Group Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd lost 1.7 per cent and 3.3 per cent, respectively.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.2 per cent to 10,071.98.

REUTERS