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CORRECTED-Australia shares snap 4-day winning streak as miners, inflation fears weigh (May 26)

(Corrects the closing levels in paragraph 2)

* CBA hits A$100-mark for the first time

* Benchmark snaps four day winning streak

* Miners lead losses, down over 1%

May 26 (Reuters) - Australian stocks snapped a four-day winning streak on Wednesday as heavyweight miners tracked a downturn in iron ore prices and offset gains in gold stocks, while investors remained cautious ahead of U.S. inflation data later this week.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.3% lower at 7,092.5 points.

Inflation concerns have kept equity markets volatile in recent weeks as high readings could revive talk of an early tapering by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which will release new inflation data on Friday.

“Australian markets are dependent on the upcoming U.S. inflation data and we are concerned about the likely effects the rate would have on the markets,” said Damian Rooney, director of equity sales at Argonaut.

The metals and mining index shed 1.4%, as iron ore prices slumped.

Mining heavyweights Rio Tinto, BHP Group and Fortescue Metals shed between 2.1% and 2.4%

Energy stocks also weighed, dropping 0.5% as oil prices slipped on fears of a supply glut.

On the upside, financials inched slightly higher with the ‘Big Four’ banks gaining between 0.6% and 0.1%.

Shares in the country’s top lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia crossed the A$100-mark for the first time and are up more than 12% so far in May, as banks started to post a strong rebound in profits and returned to paying dividends.

The gold index rose more than 2% as bullion prices rose on the back of a weaker dollar and growing inflation concerns.

Chalice Mining was the top gainer, adding 7.5% to hit a record high, while sector heavyweights Northern Star Resources and Newcrest Mining advanced 2.7% and 1.4%, respectively.

Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.05% to 12,347.44 points.

New Zealand’s central bank on Wednesday left interest rates at an all-time low, albeit projecting a rate hike by September next year to roughly 0.5%. (Reporting by Tejaswi Marthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

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