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Australia ends lower on ECB worries; NZ limps
October 5, 2016 / 6:11 AM / a year ago

Australia ends lower on ECB worries; NZ limps

(Updates to close)

Oct 5 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Wednesday, with mining stocks hurt by declines in commodity prices.

Investor confidence also was bruised by a report that the European Central Bank was withdrawing its bond buying program, though an ECB media officer denied there was any such plan under discussion.

The S&P/ASX 200 index skidded 31.1 points or 0.57 percent to 5,452.9 at the close of trade.

Global markets were also subdued on concerns of an interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve in December, with investors taking to the sidelines, awaiting further cues.

The materials sector underperformed other sectors in the region, with Newcrest Mining slipping to four month lows, tracking a three percent slump in gold prices.

The gold index fell as much as 7.5 percent to a three-month low.

Syrah Resources was the biggest percentage loser on the benchmark, shedding 26 percent on what was its worst trading day in more than 5 years.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index lost 1.1 percent or 81.3 points to finish the session at 7,271.16, battered by losses in industrial and utility shares.

Poultry farmer Tegel Group Holdings fell 6.3 percent to post its worst intraday performance ever, while infrastructure company Infratil Ltd plunged to a three-month low.

Infratil on Wednesday announced that it would invest around $100 million in U.S. renewable energy firm Longroad Energy Holdings. (Reporting by Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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