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Australia: Shares end lower on fears of a long US-China trade war

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Australian shares ended lower on Friday, dragged down by financials and energy stocks as more investors price in the possibility of a protracted Sino-US trade war.

[SYDNEY] Australian shares ended lower on Friday, dragged down by financials and energy stocks as more investors price in the possibility of a protracted Sino-US trade war.

Despite Friday's losses, the S&P/ASX 200 index notched a weekly gain of 1.4 per cent, its best performance in four weeks. The advance stems largely from optimism after Prime Minister Scott Morrison surprisingly won Australia's May 18 election.

On Friday, the benchmark index slid 35.80 points or 0.6 per cent lower to close at 6,456.0.

Worries over Sino-US trade tensions kept global markets subdued through the week, with investors anxious about the possible impact on the global economy of a long trade war.

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US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that Washington's complaints against Huawei Technologies might be resolved within the framework of a US-China trade deal, while at the same time calling the Chinese telecommunications giant "very dangerous."

Greg McKenna, founder of Sydney-based financial advisory firm McKenna Macro, said in a note "We have had a narrative shift as traders and investors have woken to the notion that the trade war is becoming intractable and hegemonic."

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.4 per cent or 41.05 points to 10,222.36, but notched a weekly gain of 0.4 per cent.

REUTERS