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Asia Markets: Nikkei slips below 20,000, Aussie stocks also fall on weak oil prices

Australian and Japanese stocks again lagged behind other Asian equities on Friday, with oil’s sharp overnight pullback putting pressure on those equities.

Underperformance has become the norm of late, with Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average stalling just below 20,000, a level it hasn’t reached since December 2015, and Australian equities hit by concerns about banks in the wake of a planned new tax on the country’s biggest lenders.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.65% closed down 0.6% amid broad weakness in commodities-focused companies, putting the index’s May retreat at 3%. BHP Billiton BHP, -2.00% , Woodside Petroleum WPL, -2.67% and Fortescue Metals FMG, -4.53% fell more than 2%.

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