December 21, 2017 / 6:05 AM / a year ago

Australia shares slip, weighed down by financial stocks; NZ down

(Updates to close)

Dec 21 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Thursday in the wake of a subdued Wall Street response to the U.S. tax overhaul, though gains by miners due to strong commodity prices capped losses.

The S&P/ASX 200 index, snapping a three-day winning streak, dropped 0.25 percent or 15.200 points to 6,060.400 at the close of trade. The benchmark gained 0.1 percent on Wednesday.

Wall Street’s main indexes declined on Wednesday, pausing after recent record highs as both houses of Congress approved a long-anticipated tax overhaul.

Australia’s financial sector accounted for most of Thursday’s loss. Its index declined 0.7 percent after U.S. financials slipped 0.3 percent.

The “Big Four” banks lost between 0.6 percent to 0.9 percent and were among the biggest drags on the benchmark.

Real estate stocks also fell. Property developer Scentre Group shed 1.9 percent to a one and a half week low, and Mirvac Group dropped 2 percent to its lowest since Dec. 5.

Miners led the gains on the benchmark. They were underpinned by higher iron ore prices and overnight strengthening in copper prices, which hit a 2-month high on Wednesday before slipping on year-end profit-taking.

The Australian metals and mining index rose 1 percent to its highest close since February 2014. Heavyweight BHP climbed 1.4 percent to a more than two and a half year high, and Rio Tinto Ltd ticked up to an over 1-month high.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.2 percent or 19.12 points to finish at 8,364.44, shrugging off better than expected GDP data released earlier in the day.

Industrials and telecommunication stocks led the slide, with Auckland International Airport Ltd declining 0.8 percent to a near 2-week low while Spark New Zealand Ltd dipped 0.6. (Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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