April 20, 2018 / 6:41 AM / 3 months ago

Australia shares down as materials rally loses momentum; NZ down

* Aussie shares end day weaker, but up on week

* Materials, financials drag

* NZ down 0.6 pct, healthcare stocks weigh (Updates to close)

April 20 (Reuters) - Australian shares broke a five-day winning streak on Friday as the recent rally in material stocks paused for breath, while sentiment was further dampened by a weak finish overnight on Wall Street.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.2 percent or 12.2 points to 5,868.8 at the close of trade, but finished the week 0.7 percent higher. The benchmark rose 0.3 percent on Thursday.

Wall Street’s three major indexes closed lower on Thursday, with tobacco stocks leading a tumble in consumer staples while concerns about smartphone demand hurt the technology sector.

In the commodities market, London aluminium and nickel prices slid as a rally driven by fears of supply disruptions caused by U.S. sanctions on Russia’s Rusal, the world’s second-biggest aluminium producer, lost momentum.

Global miner Rio Tinto shed 1.1 percent while gold miner Evolution Mining was among the top losers on the index, falling 5.4 percent.

The Australian Financial Review on Thursday reported that JPMorgan and Citi’s equities desks are selling 84.6 million shares in Evolution, representing a 5 percent stake.

Telecom stock Telstra Corp fell 1 percent to settle at its lowest close since Nov. 2011.

Financials stocks added to the pressure on the index, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia reversing early gains to slip 0.5 percent.

An Australian inquiry into financial sector misconduct claimed its first scalp on Friday as the chief executive of the country’s largest wealth manager AMP Ltd stepped down over revelations of board-level deception and misappropriation of funds.

Shares of AMP, which rose as much as 2.7 percent earlier, finished 0.5 percent lower.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.6 percent or 49.81 points to finish the session at 8,323.22.

The index finished the week 0.2 percent lower.

Healthcare stocks were the biggest drags on the index, with Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation and Ryman Healthcare finishing 2.8 percent and 1.7 percent lower, respectively.

Construction firm Fletcher Building countered some of the losses on the index, up 2.5 percent after a three-day trading halt to allow the company to carry out a capital raise. (Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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