Australian shares end lower on mounting fears of global slowdown

Australian shares snapped three consecutive sessions of gains on Friday, as a contraction in U.S. manufacturing activity deepened concerns about a global economic slowdown and heavyweight local banks dropped on fears of a slowing housing market.

The S&P/ASX 200 index XJO closed 0.7%, or 52.9 points, lower at 7,301.5. The benchmark rose 0.6% for the week in its second straight weekly gain.

"There are concerns getting louder about the deepening economic slowdown," said Jessica Amir, a market strategist at Saxo Markets Australia.

A key U.S. jobs report due later in the day is expected to offer further cues on the economy and pace of rate tightening.

Banks weighed the most on the Australian benchmark stock index on Friday, with the sectoral index XFJ down 1%. The country's "big four" banks fell between 0.7% and 1.4%.

Heavyweight miners XMM fell 0.6%, with BHP Group BHP down 1.6%.

However, gold stocks XGD were 2.4% higher after bullion prices jumped overnight on the back of a pullback in the dollar.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index NZ50G fell 0.1%, or 12.71 points, to 11,641.85.

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