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Australia: Shares fall the most in more than 3 years

Australian shares bucked a poor performance by Wall Street to edge 0.6 per cent higher on Thursday, aided by a hunt for dividend yield and more merger action.

[SYDNEY] Australian shares slumped 2.4 per cent on Friday, posting their biggest fall since May 2012, weighed down by banks after the ANZ Banking Group reported softer-than-expected earnings and announced capital raising through a share sale.

ANZ led the falls among lenders, fuelling concerns about the growth outlook for the country's major banks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell for a third straight session to close at 5,474.8 points. It fell nearly 4 per cent for the week, its biggest weekly drop in more than two months.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell 1 per cent to finish the session at 5,868.66.