January 11, 2019 / 6:14 AM / 2 months ago

Australia shares snap 4 days of gains dragged by miners; NZ rises

* Aussie benchmark briefly rises above 5,800 resistance level

* Index down after 4 sessions of gains, posts weekly gain

* Mining stocks and financials top drags

* Energy stocks record their best week since April 2016 (Updates to close)

By Rashmi Ashok

Jan 11 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended lower on Friday, snapping four days of gains after briefly popping above key resistance, as mining stocks were hit by softer base metal prices.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.4 percent, or 20.70 points, to 5,774.60 at the close of trade. The index rose above the important 5,800-point resistance level at around 0100 GMT, before steadily edging lower.

Despite the day’s losses, the index rose 2.8 percent for the week. The benchmark was up 0.3 percent on Thursday.

The metals and mining index underpinned losses, shedding nearly 1 percent at the close, after iron-ore prices slipped about 0.3 percent on demand concerns.

The world’s biggest-listed miner BHP Group shed 1.1 percent, while rival Rio Tinto Ltd dropped 0.6 percent.

Financial stocks also ended lower, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia down 1.1 percent and Westpac Banking Corp off about 1 percent.

Financials snapped four consecutive winning sessions, but they notched a weekly gain of more than 2 percent.

Also in the red were energy stocks which snapped six straight sessions of gains to end lower. Their rally was cut short after oil prices slipped amid concerns over the outlook for the global economy.

Despite the lacklustre performance, the energy sub-index posted a weekly gain of 5.6 percent, its best week since April 2016. Woodside Petroleum Ltd edged lower while Beach Energy Ltd shed 0.3 percent.

Healthcare stocks also slipped, dragged by losses in the stock of heavyweight CSL Ltd and Ramsay Health Care Ltd by 0.7 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

Gold stocks also lost their sheen, with Saracen Mineral Holdings shedding 2.3 percent and Newcrest Mining Ltd down about 0.5 percent.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 40.42 points, or 0.5 percent, to finish the session at 8,959.58.

Dairy firm Synlait Milk Ltd rose 0.8 percent while Sky Network Television Ltd gained 3.1 percent. (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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