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Australian shares shed gains after weak wage data; NZ surges on


[BENGALURU] Australian shares shed gains on Wednesday to end flat following disappointing wage growth data, with stronger financials and energy shares offsetting losses in materials.

Australian wages grew at their slowest pace on record last quarter, challenging policymakers' hopes that inflation had finally bottomed out.

The S&P/ASX 200 index eked out marginal gains to settle 0.03 per cent, or 1.49 points, higher at 5,327.7.

Shares of large cap oil companies such as Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search rose 2.5 to 3.8 per cent, respectively, led by higher crude oil prices.

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Mining giants BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group weakened as declines in copper and iron ore futures led commodities prices lower.

A stronger bullion price, however, lifted Newcrest Mining and OceanaGold Mining 2.5 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively. The gold index rose 2.7 per cent for a second straight session.

Forex services provider Ozforex was the biggest gainer on the index.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was up for a third straight session, rising 0.8 per cent or 54.15 points to finish trading at 6,824.6.

Utilities and health care outperformed other sectors. Retirement homes operator Ryman Healthcare rose 2.02 per cent.

Oil refiner New Zealand Refining Co was the biggest percentage gainer on the index, up 4.8 per cent.

The world's biggest dairy exporter, Fonterra rose 0.3 per cent after international milk prices rose and volumes dropped in its second auction this month.

Auckland International Airport was the biggest loser in New Zealand, losing 1.48 per cent.