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Australian shares slip, weighed by materials, energy firms; NZ rises on a2 Milk

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[BENGALURU]  Australian shares edged down on Friday, as declines in materials and energy stocks on lower commodities and oil prices outweighed gains in consumer staples and consumer discretionary stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 0.1 per cent or 4.3 points to 6,032.8 at the close of trade. The benchmark rose 0.1 per cent on Thursday and fell 0.9 per cent for the week, its biggest decline since March.

Materials accounted for most of the losses, with global miner BHP slipping 2.5 per cent, its biggest in more than two-months, while rival Rio Tinto Ltd fell 0.9 per cent.

BHP, which owns shale assets in the US, was also hurt by a fall in oil prices, making it the biggest drag on the main index.

Oil prices eased on Friday putting energy stocks under the cosh. Woodside Petroleum Ltd declined 2.2 to a more than two-week low, while Origin Energy Ltd slipped 0.9 per cent to its lowest since May 15.

Elsewhere, consumer staples led the gainers, with conglomerate Wesfarmers Ltd rising 0.9 per cent to its highest since Feb. 2015, while Treasury Wine Estates Ltd jumped 3.7 per cent.

Consumer discretionary stocks also accumulated profits, with Aristocrat Leisure Ltd surging 4.3 per cent to its highest ever level.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.6 per cent or 47.63 points to finish the session at 8,638.40 and registered a weekly decline of 0.2 per cent.

Consumer staples led the gains, with dairy firm a2 Milk Company Ltd rising 2.6 per cent, boosting the main index, while Synlait Milk Ltd climbed 2.2 per cent, its biggest one day gain in more than one-week.

REUTERS

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