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Australia shares end lower; NZ loses for second session

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares ended lower on Friday tracking Wall Street, pulled down by financial and basic material stocks, and recorded their first weekly fall in four.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.8 per cent lower, or 45.754 points, at 5,721.1, having lost 0.6 per cent over the week.

Wall Street clsoed lower on Thursday ahead of fourth-quarter results and in anticipation of President-elect Donald Trump's economic policies as his press conference earlier this week failed to provide any clarity on the matter.

The Australian financial index was 1.4 per cent lower, adding to the 1.3 per cent weekly loss, with the 'Big Four' banks losing over one per cent each. Westpac Banking hit its lowest in two weeks, shedding 1.6 per cent.

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Basic material stocks were also lower with rising iron ore and base metal prices failing to inspire. Mining giants Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals fell 1.2 and 2.2 per cent respectively while BHP Billiton lost 0.1 per cent.

Origin Energy and AGL Energy gained 3.2 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively on the back of rising oil prices.

Other energy stocks did not get a boost from higher oil prices with Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search falling 0.3 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively. The energy index ended the session up 0.4 per cent, logging a weekly gain of 1.8 per cent, its best week since late November.

Gold stocks followed the weakness in the metal prices with Evolution Mining losing 3.2 per cent and Resolute Mining falling 4.4 per cent. Newcrest Mining, though, gained 0.5 per cent. The gold index was down 1.1 per cent having gained 0.1 per cent over the week.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended down 0.24 per cent, or 16.62 points, at 7,046.97 in its second straight session of losses. On the week, the index gained 1.1 per cent.

The index was dragged down by banks, with ANZ and Westpac shedding more than 2 per cent each. A2 Milk company lost 1.8 per cent.