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Australian stocks end 1.6% lower, S&P 200 falls 94.2pts

Australian stocks end 1.6% lower, S&P 200 falls 94.2pts

SYDNEY: Australian stocks extended losses in the afternoon session to close down 1.6 percent on Thursday as financials and material sectors slid, while energy-related shares surged as OIL PRICES rose after Saudi air strikes in Yemen.

Brent crude OIL PRICES shot up nearly 6 percent on Thursday after Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies began a military operation in rebels Yemen.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 94.2 points to close at 5,879.1 points, its biggest fall since Dec. 9. The benchmark closed nearly unchanged on Wednesday.

New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.42 percent or 24.6 points to finish at 5,833.17. (Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Kim Coghill)