September 12, 2018 / 6:38 AM / 2 months ago

Aussie shares end lower on banks and miners; NZ down

* Aussie shares fall for ninth session out of ten

* Banks hit by latest findings of Royal Commission and weaker A$

* Energy stocks rise on higher oil prices

* Spark New Zealand drags NZ shares (Updates to close)

By Aditya Soni

Sept 12 (Reuters) - Australian shares eased marginally on Wednesday, unable to followthrough on the previous day’s recovery as financials took another hit and mining stocks slumped on the back of falling commodities prices.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.1 percent or 3.80 points to 6,175.90 at the close of trade, having risen 0.6 percent in the previous session. The index has now fallen for nine of the last 10 sessions.

Banks and insurers were battered by the latest revelations from a high profile months-long inquiry of widespread misconduct in the industry. The inquiry heard on Wednesday that insurers use high-pressure tactics to prevent customers from cancelling their policies and even hang up on them when they try to do so.

A weaker Australian dollar added to their woes, said Mathan Somasundaram, Market Portfolio Strategist with Blue Ocean Equities.

Index heavyweight Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd slipped 0.7 percent, while Westpac Banking Corp fell 0.6 percent.

Insurance majors Suncorp Group Ltd and QBE Insurance Group Ltd were trading 1.7 percent and 0.4 percent lower, respectively.

A sell-off in Chinese iron ore futures led to a weakness in mining stocks.

BHP, the world’s biggest miner, was eased 0.3 percent, while Fortescue Metals Group Ltd fell 3 percent to a more than two-year low.

However, higher oil prices boosted demand for local energy stocks, braking the benchmark’s slide.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd firmed 1.6 percent, while Santos Ltd rose 2.7 percent to its highest since August 23.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dipped 0.3 percent or 30 points to finish the session at 9,195.57.

Teleco Spark New Zealand Ltd fell 1.1 percent and was the biggest drag on the main index, while casino operator Skycity Entertainment Group Ltd dipped 2.4 percent. (Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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