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Australia shares end lower on rising global tensions; NZ also down

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares ended lower on Monday as the US Federal Reserve's comments on slowing global growth and uncertainty over headway in Sino-US trade relations checked investor sentiment.

Federal Reserve policymakers on Friday signalled further interest rate hikes, but flagged concerns over a potential global slowdown, raising questions on whether they will continue with planned rate hikes over the next year.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.6 per cent or 36.90 points to 5,693.70 at the close of trade. The benchmark lost nearly 0.1 per cent on Friday.

Meanwhile, tensions also mounted as Asia-Pacific leaders failed to agree on a communique at a summit in Papua New Guinea on Sunday, as a face-off between US and China over trade and investment fettered cooperation.

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Financial stocks fell 0.8 per cent, with top lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia slipping 0.6 per cent while Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd dipped 0.8 per cent.

Earlier in the day, CBA's chief executive Matt Comyn admitted that the bank's senior staff felt disappointment and embarrassment when a regulator blamed its culture of complacency for letting money laundering flourish.

The energy index slipped 1.6 per cent to its lowest level since April even as oil prices rose, with concerns over a demand slowdown weighing on sentiment.

Sector heavyweight Woodside Petroleum Ltd dipped 1.4 per cent, while Santos Ltd fell 1.1 per cent at close.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slipped by 0.19 per cent or 16.77 points to finish at 8,792.93.

Construction and building material supplier Fletcher Building Ltd fell 2.1 per cent.

REUTERS