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Banks were smashed for a third day, sending the financial sector tumbling to lows last seen in March 2021. Westpac fell 3.5% while Bendigo and Adelaide Bank skidded 3.2%. The losses in the other retail banks ranged from 1.9% to 2.1%. However, unlike Wednesday, there was no sign of rotation into other sectors with only energy finishing higher. Materials slid 2.2%, coinciding with reports of new restrictions being introduced to control covid outbreaks in Beijing. Elsewhere, REITs tumbled 1.6%, utilities 1.2% while tech eased 1.1%. The benchmark index finished 1.4% lower, sliding 101.4 points to close at 7019.7, a fresh four-week low.

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