May 23, 2018 / 7:09 AM / a year ago

Australian shares fall on Santos plunge; NZ dips on Fonterra

* Aussie shares fall for fifth straight session

* Santos drags Aussie shares

* Fonterra slumps NZ (Updates to close)

May 23 (Reuters) - Energy stocks drove Australian shares lower on Wednesday, after oil and gas producer Santos rejected U.S.-based firm Harbour Energy’s $10.8 billion takeover offer.

The S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 0.2 percent or 9.4 points to 6032.5 at the close of trade. The benchmark declined 0.7 percent on Tuesday.

Santos on Tuesday ended talks with Harbour Energy and rebuffed its bid, saying it undervalued the firm in the context of the recent surge in oil prices.

The decision sent the Adelaide-based company’s shares tumbling 8.4 percent on Wednesday, its biggest one day fall in nearly one and a half years.

The news, paired with a fall in oil prices on Wednesday on fears of more OPEC supply, led to weakness in the wider sector, with the energy index slumping 2.3 percent to a two-week low.

Healthcare stocks were also under pressure, with CSL Ltd slipping 1.1 percent, while Healthscope slid 2.1 percent.

Meanwhile, financials registered a fifth straight day of losses, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia dipping 0.6 percent, while AMP Ltd dropped 2.2 percent.

The fall was capped by a rise in real estate stocks, with Goodman Group Pty Ltd jumping 2.4 percent to a near ten-year high.

Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.7 percent or 60.09 points to finish the session at 8,553.23.

Consumer staples led the declines, with A2 Milk Company Ltd diving 4.4 percent, while Fonterra slumped 6.8 percent to a near two-year low. (Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by K Coghill)

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