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Australian shares ended lower on Friday dragged by losses in bank stocks, while persistent inflation worries after home prices rose for a sixth straight month in August doused hopes of the central bank cutting interest rates in the near term.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended down 0.4% at 7,278.3, but posted its biggest weekly gain since July 14.

Home prices in Australia rose as a jump in new home listings was absorbed by strong demand, adding to signs that the recovery in the property market is becoming entrenched.

“While the stronger data won’t result in the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) lifting the official benchmark next week, it should reinforce the message that the fight against inflation is unlikely to abate anytime soon and that rates may remain elevated for an extended period of time,” Citi analysts said in a note.

Australian shares end flat on China gloom

Financial stocks were the biggest drag on the benchmark index, falling 0.4% with the “big four” declining between 0.2% and 0.8%.

The miners’ sub-index lost 0.5%, breaking a four-day rally, with sector majors BHP and Fortescue falling 0.3% and 5.3% each.

Bucking the trend, energy stocks advanced 1.6%, with sector majors Woodside Energy and Santos jumping more than 1% each.

Elsewhere, Chevron workers at two of Australia’s largest liquefied natural gas facilities have rejected a company pay and conditions offer.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.2% lower at 11,528.73.

Consumer confidence in the country rose slightly in August but still remained at subdued levels, ANZ-Roy Morgan data showed on Friday.

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