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Australian shares inch down slightly; NZ closed for holiday


[BENGALURU] Australian shares ended marginally lower on Tuesday in lacklustre trade as several major financial markets worldwide remained closed for the New Year's holiday.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended down 0.06 per cent, or 3.8 points, at 6,061.3, lowest close since Dec. 21.

Financials led the losses on the index, with the "Big Four" lenders shedding between 0.2 and 0.6 per cent.

Healthcare stocks also fell, with Ramsay Health Care Ltd and CSL Ltd sliding 1.1 per cent and 0.5 per cent, respectively.

Meanwhile, materials stocks lent support to the index, as heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Ltd gained 0.4 per cent and 0.9 per cent, respectively.

New Zealand is closed for a public holiday, with the financial market reopening for trade on Wednesday.