November 10, 2017 / 6:21 AM / a year ago

Australian shares end lower as materials drag; NZ slips

(Updates to close)

Nov 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares snapped three sessions of gains to end lower on Friday, retreating from recent 10-year highs as weak commodity prices weighed on materials and energy stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended down 0.3 percent, or 20.025 points to 6,029.4. However, the Australian benchmark ended the week 1.2 percent firmer after the index scaled the psychologically important 6,000 level earlier this week.

Australia’s metals and mining index slipped 1.7 percent, hurt by a fall in iron ore prices.

Chinese iron ore futures drifted down for a third day in a row on Friday amid concerns that consumption of the steelmaking commodity in the world’s top user would be reduced as steel producers slash production over winter.

Australia’s mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto lost 2 percent and 2.3 percent apiece.

Energy stocks also dragged, with the index losing 1.2 percent after crude oil prices pulled back from a recent rally.

Oil and gas producer Santos Ltd was the biggest weight on the energy index, and ended down 3.4 percent as it extended losses suffered in the previous session on softer 2018 guidance.

Among other decliners, financials closed slightly down, with three out of the “Big Four” banks falling in the range of 0.03 percent to 0.5 percent. Top loser National Australia Bank ended down after trading ex-dividend on Thursday.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd said a court had approved its settlement with the securities regulator to settle accusations it had manipulated the bank bill swap rate.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell for a sixth straight session and lost 0.6 percent, or 46.66 points, to 7,974.43, with consumer staples and technology stocks leading mostly broad based losses.

The index shed 1.1 percent this week.

Accounting software firm Xero Ltd led the losing stocks on the index, ending down 3.9 percent. (Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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