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Australia: Shares fall, weighed by lenders, builders; NZ slips

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Australian shares fell on Wednesday, led by losses in financial and construction firms, as investors booked profits a day after the index hit a record high.

[SYDNEY] Australian shares fell on Wednesday, led by losses in financial and construction firms, as investors booked profits a day after the index hit a record high.

Fresh Sino-US trade tensions and caution ahead of a US Federal Reserve policy decision later in the day also dampened appetite for riskier assets.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 0.5 per cent or 32.5 points at 6,812.60, after firming 0.3 per cent to an all-time closing high on Tuesday.

The benchmark rose 2.9 per cent in July, its seventh straight monthly gain.

Banks fell 0.8 per cent, with the biggest lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia slipping 1.3 per cent and Westpac Banking Corp retreating 1.2 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed down 0.2 per cent% at 10,857.75.

REUTERS

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