Australian shares ended slightly lower on Wednesday as a rally in mining and banking stocks was offset by a drag in gold and energy shares while investors in New Zealand took cues from the local central bank's monetary policy meeting.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.1% lower at 7,848.10 points.

New Zealand's closed the day 0.5% higher at 11,732.28 points after the central bank decision.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand held its cash rate steady at 5.5% as expected, but lifted its forecast peak for rates and expects to not start cutting rates until the third quarter of 2025, citing persistent inflation.

Analysts at ANZ Research said in a note that the unchanged cash rate was expected, while the RBNZ raising its forecast peak was a shock to markets. They expect the first rate cut in May 2025.

Global investors now await minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting.

In Australia, digital travel business Webjet emerged as the top gainer as it posted a 40% jump in its annual earnings. Shares closed the session 7.7% higher. The country's largest telecommunications firm, Telstra Group, was a major drag, ending the day 4.2% lower at A$3.4.

Analysts have signalled a poor outlook and share performance by telecom firm after it declared plans to stop its traditional annual inflation-linked price adjustments for mobile plans amid stiff competition.

Among sub-indexes, mining stocks closed 0.2% higher tracking surging iron-ore prices on improved demand prospects from top customer China.

Mining behemoths BHP and Rio Tinto closed 0.7% and 1.7% higher, respectively.

Rate-sensitive financials closed 0.3% higher with the three of the "Big Four" banks closing between 0.2% and 1.2% higher. Commonwealth Bank of Australia closed 0.2% lower.

Among other sub-indexes, gold stocks and energy stocks closed 0.8% and 0.7% lower, respectively.

(Reporting by Sherin Sunny in Bengaluru; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee)