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Australian shares ended largely flat on Friday, as a positive lead from Wall Street plus gains across materials were largely offset by falling financials.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 2.5 points at 6,116.2.

But the benchmark ended the week about 0.9 per cent higher, rising for the sixth straight week.

US stocks rose overnight as softer inflation in the country hinted at a less aggressive Fed for the year, which bodes well for equities.

Australian material stocks rose, with mining stocks in particular gaining on firmer metal prices.

Global miners BHP and Rio Tinto were the main boosts to the benchmark, with both ending more than 1 per cent higher. Rio Tinto ended at a near 7-year high.

The Australian metals and mining index stood at a more than 6-year high.

Consumer discretionary stocks were also higher, with media house Seven West Media ending more than 1 per cent up.

On the other hand, financial stocks weighed on the index, with the big four banks barring Australia And New Zealand Banking Group falling between 0.6 and 0.9 per cent. Westpac and CBA were the largest drags on the benchmark.

Embattled wealth manager AMP Ltd also dragged on the index, falling about 6 per cent to a near 6-year low.

New Zealand shares ended at a record high, gaining for an eighth straight session as healthcare stocks led gains.

The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.5 per cent or 38.97 points to finish at 8,676.69, gaining about 1.5 per cent for the week.

Ryman Healthcare and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp bolstered the index by about 25 points. Both stocks were also the top intraday gainers on the benchmark.

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