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Australia shares slip on weak metal prices; New Zealand down too


[BENGALURU] Australian shares fell on Wednesday, as material stocks slipped on weak base metal prices while data showing the economy expanded at the fastest annual pace in over a year in the third quarter had little impact.

The S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 0.4 per cent, or 26.12 points to 5945.70. The benchmark shed 0.2 per cent on Tuesday.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed gross domestic product (GDP) in July-September grew 2.8 per cent from a year earlier, but worrying weakness in household spending cast a cloud over the growth outlook.

The metals and mining index fell 2.1 per cent to its lowest in over a month, with Rio Tinto slipping 1.7 per cent and BHP losing about 2 per cent.

Iron ore futures in China slipped on Tuesday while copper had its biggest drop in two years as the dollar firmed against a basket of currencies on expectations of a US tax reform.

Healthcare stocks were the second-biggest losers on the index, with CSL Ltd and Cochlear Ltd falling 2.1 per cent and 0.5 per cent, respectively.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.6 per cent or 45.35 points to finish the session at 8139.86.

Healthcare, material and information technology stocks led the declines.

Among top losers on the index were Fletcher Building Ltd and Xero Ltd, both slipping 3 per cent each.