The Financial Express

Australian shares end 2017 with annual gains

Published: December 29, 2017 14:30:39

File Photo (Reuters) File Photo (Reuters)

Australian shares finished lower on Friday, dragged by financials, but posting their best annual performance since 2013 on the last trading day of the year.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.4 per cent, or 23.0 points, to 6,065.1 at the close of trade, reports Reuters.

The benchmark added 0.3 per cent on Thursday and rose 7.1 per cent this year, registering two consecutive years of gains.

Banks accounted for most of the losses on the benchmark, with the Australian financial index posting an annual decline for the first time since 2011.

Australia’s banks have been troubled by instances of money laundering and rate-rigging over the course of 2017.

Westpac Banking Corp fell 0.6 per cent, dragging the index, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia declined 0.2 per cent.

The metals and mining index capped a strong year by gaining 0.2 per cent to finish near a five-year high on Friday, supported by higher iron ore and copper prices. The index climbed 22.3 per cent in 2017.

Global miner BHP Billiton gained 0.2 per cent, rising to its highest close since May 2015, while its peer Rio Tinto Ltd ticked up 1.2 per cent.

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