Australian shares closed down on Monday after earlier slipping to their lowest in almost a month, as energy firms were hit hard by falling oil prices after Iraq said it does not want to join the production cut to prop up the market. The Australian benchmark index ended 0.4 percent, or 21.82 points, lower at 5,408.5. It lost 0.2 percent on Friday and was off 0.1 percent for the week. The energy index tumbled 1.5 percent and closed at its lowest since Sept 30. Santos Ltd and Oil Search Ltd, down about 3 percent and 2 percent respectively, were the worst hit in the oil sector.
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Healthcare stocks also lost substantially, with healthcare provider Healthscope Ltd and Ramsay Health Care Ltd down 5.9 percent and 4.6 percent respectively.
New Zealand’s stock market was closed for Labour Day.