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Australia shares end lower; NZ up slightly
February 20, 2017 / 6:21 AM / 10 months ago

Australia shares end lower; NZ up slightly

(Updates to close)

Feb 20 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended lower on Monday, dragged down by basic materials and consumer stocks, with Brambles Ltd plummeting after it forecast a flat full-year underlying profit.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended down 0.2 percent, or 10.72 points, at 5,805.8. The benchmark fell 0.2 percent on Friday.

Australian pallets and container group Brambles dropped as much as 11.2 percent to its lowest since October 2014, after it said that its profit for the year ending June 30 was expected to be flat. It ended down 10 percent.

The biggest drag on the benchmark index, WorleyParsons , fell as much as 21.8 percent, its biggest percentage loss since Nov. 20, 2013 after it posted its first interim net loss.

The energy index fell as much as 1.7 percent and ended down for a fifth straight session, with oil major Santos losing 1.5 percent.

Consumer cyclicals also took a hit after supermarket operator Wesfarmers, which went ex-dividend, fell 2.20 percent.

The mining index fell as much as 0.7 percent, with BHP Billiton Ltd losing 0.6 percent while, South32 declined 1.9 percent.

On the other hand, the benchmark financial index rose as much as 0.3 percent, its highest in over a month.

Three out of the four “Big Four” banks ended higher by a range of 0.4-0.7 percent. National Australia Bank lost marginally.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged up 0.1 percent, or 5.97 points, to finish the session at 7,093.53.

The gains on the index was supported by financials and industrial stocks.

The biggest gainer was Auckland International Airport , rising as much as 2.3 percent, its biggest percentage gain since Jan. 4. Stock exchange operator NZX Ltd added 0.9 percent.

Reporting by Sandhya Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill

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