Australia shares slip; banks weaker after RBA keeps rate steady
(Updates to close)
SYDNEY, July 1 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell 0.4 percent to end at a two-and-a-half month closing low on Tuesday with major banks weaker after the central bank kept its cash rate steady, outweighing postive data from top trading partner China.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended down 19.8 points at 5,375.9 points after touching a session high of 5,414.9. The benchmark dropped 0.9 percent on Monday and lost 1.8 percent in June.
Westpac Banking Corp, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank were the biggest drags, closing 1-2 percent lower after the Reserve Bank of Australia dampened any expectations of a change to record low interest rates.
Resource stocks lent some support after upbeat manufacturing surveys from China, Australia's largest export market, showed an improving outlook.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.1 percent or 4.8 points to finish the session at 5,146.26. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Richard Borsuk)
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