Australia shares pare losses, investors cautious on China, Ukraine

Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:20am EDT

(Updates to close)

SYDNEY, March 27 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell 0.5 percent on Thursday, but recouped some of their early steep losses as a handful of oil stocks recovered in late afternoon trade.

The S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 26.7 points to 5,350.1 at the close of trade, as investors fretted about tensions in Ukraine and slowing growth in China. The benchmark rose 0.8 percent on Wednesday.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index finished flat at 5,126.5. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)