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Australia shares recover some losses after positive RBA minutes; NZ up
[BENGALURU] Australian shares ended Tuesday just a shade lower, recouping some early losses after positive remarks on the economy from the Reserve Bank of Australia offset risk aversion.
The S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 19.5 points or 0.37 per cent to 5,326.2 at the close of trade.
In the minutes of its November policy meeting, Australia's central bank said it expects core inflation to pick up gradually amid surging prices for key commodity exports and an economy running near potential, implying it might be done cutting interest rates this cycle.
Foreign exchange services provider OFX Group was the biggest loser, plunging as much as 17.3 per cent after it slashed its earnings outlook.
BHP Billiton lost 1.1 per cent after iron ore futures in Asia saw a sharp drop on Tuesday. South 32 Ltd and Fortescue Metals followed its lead.
Rio Tinto, the world's second largest miner, settled 0.8 per cent lower after it said it was "cautiously optimistic" about the current copper market, which has strengthened in recent weeks.
Materials and healthcare stocks underperformed other sectors, offsetting gains in financials.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index climbed 0.48 per cent or 32.67 points to finish the session at 6,770.4.
Dairy giant Fonterra rose half a per cent, despite Monday's devastating earthquake and aftershocks, which left some farms without power, forcing them to dump milk.
Poultry farmer Tegel Group was the biggest percentage gainer on the index, rising nearly 4 per cent. Materials and utility stocks outperformed other sectors, offsetting upsets in telecommunication shares.