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Australia: Shares snap three-day losing streak; NZ down


[BENGALURU] Australian shares snapped a three-day losing streak, ending marginally higher on Wednesday as gains by consumer stocks offset losses in many financial counters.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.2 per cent, or 14.071 points, to 5805.10 at the close of trade.

The benchmark financial index slipped for a second consecutive session, losing 0.7 per cent.

The country's biggest mortgage lender, Commonwealth Bank of Australia at one point was down 3 per cent, its biggest intraday loss in over three months. The stock, which is trading ex-dividend, ended the day off 2.6 per cent.

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The other three of the "Big Four" banks closed higher, with gains between 0.4 and 0.8 per cent.

Media monitoring and analytics company iSentia Group was the biggest loser on the index, falling to an all-time low of A$1.67 after it said first-half core earnings fell 13 per cent.

Telecommunications service provider Vocus Group Ltd , the biggest gainer on the benchmark index, closed 10.2 per cent higher after a jump in its half-year revenue and profit.

Beverages distributor Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd rose to a near two-year high after its annual profit rose 6 per cent.

Miners were off as much as 0.8 per cent before finishing the day 0.3 per cent down. Giant BHP Billiton fell 0.7 per cent for the day.

Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Ltd declined 2.7 per cent, after its half-year results fell short of market expectations.

The energy index added 1 per cent, climbing for a second straight session on strong oil prices.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.7 per cent lower, dragged down by consumer stocks.

Fletcher Building Ltd sinks as much as 7.4 per cent to its lowest in around four months after it said the global market outlook was uncertain.

Subscription television provider Sky Network Television closed 2.7 per cent lower after its half-year profit fell 32 per cent.

A New Zealand court on Wednesday ruled that a 36-hour pause must take place before Sky Network can buy Vodafone's New Zealand unit if the competition regulator approves the deal.