Australian shares end lower as CBA leads banks' selloff
* CBA triggered turmoil in financial sector
* Miners weigh on ASX200
* NZX50 falls 0.51% (Updates to close)
By Riya Sharma
Nov 17 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed lower on Wednesday as selling in top lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), due to its warning of a margin-hit, pulled the heavily weighted financial sector down.
The S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO ended 0.68% down at 7,369.9.
The country's largest lender CBA CBA.AX dropped up to 8.4%, its biggest fall in nearly two years, after warning of a considerable hit to margins from a low interest-rate environment and mortgage competition. Its first-quarter cash profit, however, was up by a fifth.
The financials sub-index .AXFJ fell 2.74% as worries about shrinking profits weighed, with rest of the "Big Four" banks losing between 1.8% and 2.5%.
"Banks are heavy negatives today and CBA results along with previous Westpac results WBC.AX will weigh on the financial sector in the short term," said Mathan Somasundaram, chief executive officer at Deep Data Analytics.
"Indications of economic weakening are apparent in the market when you put into context the stimulus pushed into it, and the economy is going to see lower growth from here. So, markets are worried." Heavyweight miners .AXMM declined 1.03% as a rising greenback pressured dollar-denominated commodities, and as iron ore dropped for a fourth straight session.
Miners BHP Group BHP.AX , Rio Tinto RIO.AX and Fortescue Metals FMG.AX sagged between 1% and 1.9%.
Seed technology and crop protection maker Nufarm Ltd NUF.AX plunged as much as 8.6% to fall most in six months after the company said global logistics and supply chain challenges will continue to pressure its margins.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index .NZ50 fell 0.51% to end at 12,837.4.
Reporting by Riya Sharma in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V
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