(Updates to close)
Oct 12 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended effectively flat on Wednesday, undermined by losses in commodities, after a sour start to earnings season on Wall Street and growing fears of an imminent U.S. interest rate hike hurt sentiment.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 5.2 points or 0.09 percent or lower at 5474.60.
Materials and energy stocks dragged a little on the benchmark index, with large cap miners BHP Billiton Ltd ending down 1.5 percent and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd closing 2.9 percent lower.
Sentiment was also affected by a weak Australian dollar which slumped to a three-week low, and an overnight drop in oil prices.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index hit a 12-week low before closing down 0.24 percent or 16.77 points lower to finish the session at 7107.460.
Most of the index constituents fell with tech stocks leading the losses, while financials and utilities were the only gainers.
Xero Ltd and Summerset Group Holdings Ltd shed over 2 percent and were the worst performers on the index. (Reporting by Anusha Ravindranath in Bengaluru; Editing by Eric Meijer)