October 26, 2018 / 6:42 AM / 9 months ago

Australia shares end flat but post steep weekly loss; NZ flat

* Aussie shares fall 4.6 pct this week

* Energy stocks see steepest weekly drop in nearly 3 years

* Gold index down 2.4 pct on Friday (Updates to close)

Oct 26 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed flat on Friday ending a week of overall loss, as investors picked up financial and materials stocks while declining oil prices left the energy sector sagging.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.02 percent up to close at 5,665.2. For the week, the benchmark slumped 4.6 percent as concerns about U.S. earnings fuelled an aversion to equities across the globe.

Financial shares reversed course to advance 0.4 percent for the day but lost 4.4 percent over the week.

The country’s biggest lender, Commonwealth Bank of Australia , gained 0.8 percent, while National Australia Bank rose 0.7 percent.

Investors have been mindful of Australian bank earnings kicking off next week, as the sector has been embroiled in an inquiry leading to revelations of widespread misconduct.

Materials stocks also recovered to close the day 0.4 percent up. The sector lost 4.8 percent this week.

Mining heavyweight BHP gained 1.3 percent and Rio Tinto rose 0.9 percent.

On the other hand, energy shares ended the day down and saw their steepest weekly drop in nearly three years, falling 9.3 percent. Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search were down 1 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively, at the end Friday’s session.

Oil prices fell and were headed for a third weekly loss after Saudi Arabia’s OPEC governor said the market may become oversupplied soon amid worries about demand growth.

Meanwhile, gold shares lost 2.4 percent but recorded a fourth consecutive week of gain on the back of gold prices which were on track to see their longest string of weekly gains since January.

Newcrest Mining snapped three sessions of gain to close 3.2 percent down.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed flat at 8568.4 but lost 2.7 percent this week.

Consumer stocks A2 Milk and Synlait Milk fell 0.5 and 2.9 percent, respectively. (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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