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Australian shares fall, weighed by financials; NZ flat
[BENGALURU] Australian shares declined on Friday, weighed by financial stocks on the prospect of a weaker local currency and persistently low interest rates.
The S&P/ASX 200 index dipped 0.6 per cent or 35.40 points to 6,062.90 at the close of trade. The benchmark added 0.8 per cent on Thursday and posted a weekly gain of 1.8 per cent, its biggest since March 2017.
International investors are selling bank stocks on the weak outlook for the Australian dollar, said Mathan Somasundaram, market portfolio strategist at Blue Ocean Equities.
Meanwhile, statements from the central bank signalled that rates are set to stay at record lows for a good while yet.
Financials slumped 0.9 per cent and accounted for nearly half the losses on the benchmark.
Index heavyweight Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell 1.6 per cent, dragging the benchmark, while Westpac Banking Corp slipped 0.9 per cent.
Bucking the sector trend, Macquarie Group Ltd traded 0.2 per cent higher, while AMP Ltd gained 0.5 per cent.
Real estate stocks were also under the cosh, with shopping mall giant Scentre Group dipping 1.9 per cent, while Goodman Group Pty Ltd fell 1.7 per cent.
Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 2.49 points to finish the session at 8,549.37 and record a weekly gain of 2.1 per cent, its biggest since late February.
Consumer staples were the biggest gainers, with a2 Milk Company Ltd rising 2.4 per cent to a more than three-week high.