(Updates to close)
SYDNEY, March 3 Australian shares slipped 0.4 percent on Monday, as escalating tensions in Ukraine prompted selling in riskier assets, though data showing an uptick in job advertisements helped pull the market off its session lows.
Australian job advertisements in newspapers and on the Internet jumped by the most in over four years in February, a rare piece of good news on employment that presages a pick-up in hiring after months of weakness.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 20.5 points to 5,384.3, after hitting an intraday low of 5,340.3. The benchmark eased on Friday, but posted a 4.1 percent gain for February, spurred by a largely solid earnings season.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.3 percent or 17.4 points to finish the session at an all-time closing high of 5,007.4. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)