Australia shares slip 0.6 pct, weak sentiment spreads to consumer stocks

Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:26am EDT

(Updates to close)

SYDNEY, March 12 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell 0.6 percent on Wednesday, dragged lower by a weak reading on consumer confidence and worries about China's economy, with downbeat sentiment spreading to banking, energy and consumer stocks.

The market pared some earlier losses as investors bought back battered shares of miners.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 29.6 points at 5,384.2, after touching an intraday low of 5,345.9.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.1 percent to 5,096.5. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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