Australian shares ended lower on Thursday as investors dumped rate-sensitive stocks including property, technology and financials after hotter-than-expected U.S. inflation data dented hopes of an early interest rate cut.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.4% at 7,813.600 at the close of trade. The benchmark lost as much as 1.2% earlier in the day.

"I see a lot of pressure on the rate-sensitive sectors now. Some companies have just been holding on as best they can, but now with a longer time horizon many will not be able to continue," said Brad Smoling, managing director at Smoling Stockbroking.

Wall Street ended sharply lower on Wednesday after the inflation data prompted investors to assuage expectations that the Federal Reserve would begin lowering interest rates as early as June.

Australian financials emerged as one of the major drags in the benchmark index with a loss of nearly 1%.

All "Big Four" banks ended lower, with ANZ Group leading declines after slipping 1.4%.

Real estate stocks, which are sensitive to interest rates, finished the day 1.8% lower. Shares of developers Mirvac and Lendlease Group lost between 2.6% and 2%.

Technology firms tracked the lacklustre overnight performances in their U.S. peers to slump 0.5%.

Bucking the trend, bellwether miners rose 0.8% on the back of a continued jump in iron ore prices.

Mining behemoth Rio Tinto inched 0.4% higher.

The Australian energy sector jumped 1.2%, driven by higher oil prices amid growing concerns of a worsening Middle-East crisis.

Australia's largest oil and gas firm Woodside Energy surged 2.1% while smaller peer Santos rose 1.3%.

In company news, shares of Origin Energy dipped 0.1% after the power retailer appointed a new finance chief.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended 0.3% lower, a day after the central bank kept its cash rate unchanged at 5.50% for a straight sixth time.


(Reporting by Rajasik Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)