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Australia: Shares fall from 2-week high, New Zealand shares


[SYDNEY] Australian shares fell 0.5 per cent on Friday, coming off a two-week high touched in the previous session.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 26 points to 4,966.1 by 0123 GMT. The benchmark rose 1.2 per cent on Thursday when prices hit a two-week high of 4,992.

Financials led the Australian benchmark lower, with National Australia Bank and ANZ Bank both falling more than 1 per cent.

The energy sector also fell, led by losses of Santos Ltd , which fell 5 per cent after the Australian oil and gas producer Santos Ltd STO.AX, which rejected a A$7.1 billion ($5.04 billion) takeover last year, slid to a loss of A$2.7 billion in 2015.

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New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2 per cent or 13 points to 6,124.07 on Friday.

The biggest gainers were Chorus, up 4.9 per cent. The company posted a sharply lower net profit but investors were cheered when it said it would resume paying dividends. Auckland Airport was up 3.1 per cent after it reported a 25 per cent lift in its HY net profit and lifted its guidance.

"Good results are being well received by the market," giving sentiment an overall lift, said Craigs Investment Partners Investment Advisor Belinda Stanley.

In the other direction A2 Milk was trading down 6.9 per cent on profit taking after its sharp gains earlier in the week.