Australian shares ended lower on Thursday, dragged down by technology stocks that suffered their worst session in nearly a month, while Westpac rose after the country's fourth-largest lender topped its quarterly profit estimates.

The S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.1% lower at 7,078 after a two-day winning streak lost steam in thin trade.

Technology stocks plunged 5.9%, extending losses from the previous session, weighed down by a 9.8% and 5% slump in Block and Xero, respectively.

Wall Street sentiment turned sour in post-market trade overnight as Meta Platforms Inc plunged more than 20% after the Facebook owner missed its earnings estimate.

Steven Daghlian, a market analyst at CommSec, also attributed weakness in tech stocks to inflationary risks and the prospect of rising interest rates across economies.

Australia shares likely to open higher, NZ shares gain

"We're going through a period where it's quite normal to see increased volatility just because markets are still somewhat unpredictable and uncertain about what's ahead," he said.

Financials dipped 0.1%, though Westpac jumped 2.3% to its highest level since Jan. 19 after the lender's first-quarter numbers reflected a headway in its cost-cutting measures.

Early signs of reduced costs should provide investors some comfort that incurring costs will likely decline through FY22 as guided, brokerage Citi said in a note.

Gaming company Aristocrat Leisure fell as much as 3.1% after shareholders of UK gambling software company Playtech rejected its $2.84 billion takeover offer.

Bucking the trend, mining stocks closed 1.6% higher, benefiting from strong copper and gold prices, with heavyweights Rio Tinto and BHP firming 2.4% and 3.1%, respectively.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 ended 0.4% higher at 12,335.3.

Flag carrier Air New Zealand climbed 3.3% after the country floated plans on phased reopening of its borders.


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