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Australia shares end tad weaker, NZ down

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares closed lower on Monday, with consumer staples and healthcare stocks erasing the gains from energy and material sectors, as investors looked for more clarity on President-elect Donald Trump's policies.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended or 8.11 points or 0.2 per cent lower at 5,351.30.

Consumer stocks dragged the index, falling more than 1 per cent, with retail-to-resources company Wesfarmers Ltd and supermarket giant Woolworths Ltd falling 1.5 per cent and 1.6 per cent, respectively.

The ASX 200 Healthcare index fell 1.3 per cent with biotherapeutics company CSL Ltd dropping 0.7 per cent.

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Bucking the trend, energy stocks rose on hopes of an Opec-led output cut, with Woodside Petroleum Ltd and Origin Energy Ltd gaining between 1.3 per cent to 2.6 per cent.

Basic materials stocks rose for the first time in six sessions, with both BHP Billiton Ltd and Newcrest Mining Ltd closing up 0.8 per cent.

Some 300 stocks hit new lows, while 275 issues hit new highs.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed down by 8.89 points to finish the session at 6,848.95.

The index saw the deepest losses in utilities and consumer staples, with Meridian Energy Ltd and Contact Energy Ltd shedding 2.9 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively, while A2 Milk Company Ltd lost 3.3 per cent.