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SYDNEY, May 1 (Reuters) - Australian shares lost 0.7 percent on Thursday, as investors booked profits in pricey financial sector stocks on the back of recent analysts' downgrades, hitting the likes of ANZ bank even as it boasted strong first half earnings.
The S&P/ASX 200 index to slipped 40.3 points to 5,448.8 at the close of trade. The benchmark finished a tick higher on Wednesday.
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group dropped 1.2 percent despite a strong first half result, partly as the stock had rallied hard ahead of the report.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.4 percent to 5,209.2. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)