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Australia shares end lower, mark best month in five

Australian shares ended lower on Friday, with Beach Energy‘s trading update weighing on sentiment, even as the index marked its best month in five.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.8% to 7,025.8 points, backing away from the previous session’s 14-month peak.

Beach Energy Ltd led losses as it plunged 24% after slashing reserve estimates and earnings outlook following a review of declining output at its Western Flank field in South Australia.

Monthly manufacturing data from China pointed to a slow recovery and slackening demand in the world’s second-biggest economy and what it would mean for Australia, its top trade partner, James Tao, market analyst at CommSec said.

“The traders are just engaging in some end-of-month profit-taking and it is dragging down the market today and the negative trading announcements from index giants didn’t help the matter any further,” he added.

Gold stocks tumbled 2.2%, with the country’s biggest producer Newcrest Mining shedding up to 2.6% as bullion eased due to higher U.S. Treasury yields denting its appeal.

The energy subindex skidded 1.7?%, hurt by Beach Energy and a fall in oil prices due to concerns over wider lockdowns in major oil consumers India and Brazil.

Heavyweights Woodside Petroleum Ltd and Viva Energy Group eased as much as 1.8% each.

Among individual stocks, U.S.-based ResMed Inc slumped after a tax dispute led the sleep apnoea specialist to post a quarterly loss.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.13% to 12,731.1.

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