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Australia shares fall as trade war pressures miners, energy stocks; NZ up

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[BENGALURU] Materials and energy stocks pushed Australian shares lower on Tuesday as the escalating US-China trade war pressured commodity and oil prices.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.4 per cent or 23.50 points to 6,161.50 at the close of trade. The index rose 0.3 per cent on Monday.

Copper traded on the London Metal Exchange fell as far as 1.5 per cent on Tuesday, putting pressure on Australian materials stocks.

The metals and mining index fell 0.5 per cent, with miners being among the top drags on the benchmark.

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Shares of BHP, the world's biggest miner, traded 0.4 per cent lower and dominated the losses on the benchmark.

Gold miners also traded lower, hurt by a fall in the price of the metal. Newcrest Mining Ltd weakened 1.4 per cent, while St Barbara Ltd fell 2.1 per cent.

Energy stocks were also under the cosh as the Sino-US trade war clouded the outlook for oil demand.

Origin Energy Ltd fell 2.9 per cent to a one-week low, while Woodside Petroleum Ltd was down 1.1 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index firmed 0.5 per cent or 44.24 points to finish the session at 9,315.77, its highest since Aug.30.

Shares in telecommunication services led the gains, with Spark New Zealand Ltd rising 1.9 per cent.

Industrials also advanced. Auckland International Airport Ltd firmed 2.5 per cent to its highest since Aug 31.

REUTERS