Australian shares on Thursday marked their worst session in more than a month, weighed down by broad-based losses among heavyweights miners and financials, while AGL Energy slumped on lacklustre half-yearly results.

The S&P/ASX 200 ended 0.5% lower at 7,490.30 points, its lowest levels since Feb 1. The benchmark closed 0.3% higher on Wednesday.

"I think investors are being cautiously optimistic at the moment," said Glenn Yin, head of research and analysis at AETOS Capital Group.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) earlier this week reiterated that further interest rate hikes were needed to control inflation, a more hawkish policy tilt than many had expected.

Yin, however, believes Australia lags its global peers in central bank policies but could possibly miss a recession.

"In terms of RBA policies, inflation is the real enemy," said Yin.

Furthermore, U.S. Federal Reserve officials on Wednesday said more interest rate hikes are expected to cool inflation, hammering risk sentiment worldwide.

Investors would also be closely looking forward to the U.S. initial jobless claims data due later in the day.

"The jobless claims data will be closely watched by investors globally. Any decline may suggest further strength in the labour market and may persuade the Fed to switch on the hawks," Yin said.

Local miners dipped 0.5%. Sector heavyweight Rio Tinto fell 0.3%, while Fortescue Metals Group jumped 0.2%.

Energy stocks retreated 0.4%, snapping four straight sessions of gains. AGL Energy, the country's biggest power producer, tumbled as much as 12.1% - the most in 15 years - after the company posted its second-biggest six-month net loss and cut annual profit outlook. Santos shares were steady after the energy company said gas production from its John Brookes platform in Western Australia has resumed, following a two-month-long outage.

Financials fell 0.3%. Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank declined 0.1% and 0.3%, respectively.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 closed 0.8% lower at 12,118.67, posting their worst intraday session since Dec. 20. (Reporting by Echha Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)