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Australia, NZ shares down after Italy rejects reform referendum
December 5, 2016 / 6:16 AM / a year ago

Australia, NZ shares down after Italy rejects reform referendum

(Updates to close)

Dec 5 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed lower on Monday, with losses led by financials, as investors digested the potential impact on the markets of Italy’s vote against constitutional reform.

Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced his resignation stoking fears of political instability and renewed turmoil for Italy’s banks, pushing the euro zone towards a fresh crisis.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.8 percent, or 43.62 points, to 5,400.4 at the close of trade.

Financials fell 1.2 percent, after having gained nearly 10 percent since the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election.

The “Big Four” banks were among top drags on the main index, falling more than 1 percent each.

Healthcare stocks, which had also gained significantly after the elections tracking counterparts in the U.S, ended 2 percent lower.

Biotherapeutics giant CSL Ltd shed 2.5 percent to hit its lowest since Nov. 18, 2015.

In contrast, DUET Group soared 16 percent higher after Hong Kong’s Cheung Kong Infrastructure made a A$7.3 billion ($5.44 billion) bid for the company.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended 0.7 percent lower at 6,854.71, after Prime Minister John Key unexpectedly announced his resignation on Monday.

Losses on the index were led by healthcare and consumer discretionary stocks.

Ryman Healthcare Ltd and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp lost 4.1 and 2.0 percent respectively. ($1 = 1.3430 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Geo Tharappel in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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