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Australia: Shares end lower on global growth worries, but NZ rises

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The S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 0.3 per cent at 6,553.

[SYDNEY] Australian shares fell for a third straight day on Wednesday, pulled down by financial and healthcare firms as weak domestic growth data and a contraction in US manufacturing activity rekindled fears of a slowdown in global growth.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 0.3 per cent at 6,553. The benchmark inched down 0.1 per cent on Tuesday.

Australia's economy grew at its slowest pace in a decade last quarter, data showed on Wednesday, as tepid wage growth and a sharp downturn in home building weighed heavily on domestic consumption.

The GDP data "largely" justifies the central bank's recent rate hold and "coupled with increasing risk to the global outlook suggest further easing is likely," Su-Lin Ong, head of Australian and New Zealand fixed income and currency Strategy at RBC Capital Markets, said in a note.

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Weak August manufacturing readings from the world's largest economy added to concerns, indicating that Sino-US trade tensions dented business confidence and stoked fears of a recession.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index, which fell as much as 0.7 per cent earlier in the day, ended up 0.5 per cent at 11,008.13.

REUTERS