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Australia shares end lower as resources drag; NZ steady

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares finished lower on Tuesday as resources stocks were aggressively sold on fears of oversupply.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 53.25 points or 0.9 per cent lower at 5836.7.

Traders exited their bullish bets on resources shares after global oil prices and iron ore futures in China slipped on oversupply concerns.

Data released on Monday showed that China's crude steel output hit a record 72 million tonnes in March as mills raised output.

The benchmark metal index slipped to a one-month low, with big names BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd ending in negative territory.

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Woodside Petroleum, Australia's largest independent oil and gas producer, closed 0.4 per cent lower.

Financial stocks added to the losses, with the 'Big Four' banks ending down after minutes of the central bank's April meeting cemented views interest rates would stay low for longer.

Telecom operator Telstra Corp Ltd dropped for a fourth straight session and ended lower. The stock has been on a losing streak since April 12 after rival TPG Telecom Ltd won a spectrum auction.

Meanwhile, coal railway line operator Aurizon Holdings tumbled to a two-month low after it slashed its annual profit guidance in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie. Aurizon shares closed 1.5 per cent lower.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended steady at 7233.61. Gains in industrial stocks were capped by financial and healthcare stocks.

Market participants will be looking out for New Zealand's inflation data due later this week. Twelve economists polled by Reuters on average expect the CPI to reach the central bank target mid-point of 2 per cent growth in the first quarter.


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