May 4, 2018 / 6:55 AM / in 9 months

Australian shares fall, weighed by financials; NZ flat

* Aussie shares post biggest one-day fall in more than a month

* Financials weigh on the benchmark

* NZ flat (Updates to close)

May 4 (Reuters) - Australian shares declined on Friday, weighed by financial stocks on the prospect of a weaker local currency and persistently low interest rates.

The S&P/ASX 200 index dipped 0.6 percent or 35.40 points to 6,062.90 at the close of trade. The benchmark added 0.8 percent on Thursday and posted a weekly gain of 1.8 percent, its biggest since March 2017.

International investors are selling bank stocks on the weak outlook for the Australian dollar, said Mathan Somasundaram, market portfolio strategist at Blue Ocean Equities.

Meanwhile, statements from the central bank signalled that rates are set to stay at record lows for a good while yet.

Financials slumped 0.9 percent and accounted for nearly half the losses on the benchmark.

Index heavyweight Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell 1.6 percent, dragging the benchmark, while Westpac Banking Corp slipped 0.9 percent.

Bucking the sector trend, Macquarie Group Ltd traded 0.2 percent higher, while AMP Ltd gained 0.5 percent.

Real estate stocks were also under the cosh, with shopping mall giant Scentre Group dipping 1.9 percent, while Goodman Group Pty Ltd fell 1.7 percent.

Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 2.49 points to finish the session at 8,549.37 and record a weekly gain of 2.1 percent, its biggest since late February.

Consumer staples were the biggest gainers, with a2 Milk Company Ltd rising 2.4 percent to a more than three-week high. (Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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