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Australian shares ease after best day in 4 months, energy stocks top losers

June 23 (Reuters) - Australian shares slipped on Wednesday after posting their best session in nearly four months, as gold and energy stocks lost ground after underlying commodity prices fell overnight.

The S&P/ASX 200 index declined 0.5% to 7,303.20 by 1259 GMT, retreating after Tuesday’s 1.5% jump.

Energy stocks shed 1.5% as crude oil prices fell overnight following a discussion by OPEC+ countries to raise production.

Sector heavyweights Santos and Woodside petroleum were the biggest drags on the sub-index, falling 2.4% and 1.5% respectively.

Ampol and Viva Energy were trading in negative territory even though the Australian parliament approved plans to pay them A$2.3 billion ($1.8 billion) to keep their struggling oil refineries open.

Gold stocks slid 0.5%, with bullion prices falling overnight as traders awaited more clarity from the U.S. Federal Reserve regarding its monetary policy after the central bank struck a hawkish tone last week.

Sector heavyweight Northern Star Resources slipped 0.5%, while Ramelius Resources fell 3.2% and was the second-biggest loser on the sub-index.

Financial stocks were down 0.74%, with the ‘big four’ banks losing between 0.9% and 1.1%.

Tech stocks advanced 0.8%, led by a 1.3% gain in Afterpay Ltd and a 0.7% rise in Appen.

Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei was up 0.29% at 28,968.43.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was up 0.25% at 12,565.51. (Reporting by Tejaswi Marthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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