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Australia shares snap 4 days of gains dragged by miners; NZ rises

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares ended lower on Friday, snapping four days of gains after briefly popping above key resistance, as mining stocks were hit by softer base metal prices.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.4 per cent, or 20.70 points, to 5,774.60 at the close of trade. The index rose above the important 5,800-point resistance level at around 0100 GMT, before steadily edging lower.

Despite the day's losses, the index rose 2.8 per cent for the week. The benchmark was up 0.3 per cent on Thursday.

The metals and mining index underpinned losses, shedding nearly 1 per cent at the close, after iron-ore prices slipped about 0.3 per cent on demand concerns.

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The world's biggest-listed miner BHP Group shed 1.1 per cent, while rival Rio Tinto Ltd dropped 0.6 per cent.

Financial stocks also ended lower, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia down 1.1 per cent and Westpac Banking Corp off about 1 per cent.

Financials snapped four consecutive winning sessions, but they notched a weekly gain of more than 2 per cent.

Also in the red were energy stocks which snapped six straight sessions of gains to end lower. Their rally was cut short after oil prices slipped amid concerns over the outlook for the global economy.

Despite the lacklustre performance, the energy sub-index posted a weekly gain of 5.6 per cent, its best week since April 2016. Woodside Petroleum Ltd edged lower while Beach Energy Ltd shed 0.3 per cent.

Healthcare stocks also slipped, dragged by losses in the stock of heavyweight CSL Ltd and Ramsay Health Care Ltd by 0.7 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively.

Gold stocks also lost their sheen, with Saracen Mineral Holdings shedding 2.3 per cent and Newcrest Mining Ltd down about 0.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 40.42 points, or 0.5 per cent, to finish the session at 8,959.58.

Dairy firm Synlait Milk Ltd rose 0.8 per cent while Sky Network Television Ltd gained 3.1 per cent.

REUTERS