January 2, 2018 / 6:26 AM / in 6 months

Australian shares inch down slightly; NZ closed for holiday

(Updates to close)

Jan 2 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended marginally lower on Tuesday in lacklustre trade as several major financial markets worldwide remained closed for the New Year’s holiday.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended down 0.06 percent, or 3.8 points, at 6,061.3, lowest close since Dec. 21.

Financials led the losses on the index, with the ‘Big Four’ lenders shedding between 0.2 and 0.6 percent.

Healthcare stocks also fell, with Ramsay Health Care Ltd and CSL Ltd sliding 1.1 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, materials stocks lent support to the index, as heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Ltd gained 0.4 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

New Zealand is closed for a public holiday, with the financial market reopening for trade on Wednesday. (Reporting by Christina Martin in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)

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