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Australia shares flat as losses in banks, tech stocks offset miners' gains

05/05/2021 | 09:11pm EDT

May 6 (Reuters) - Australian shares were flat on Thursday, as losses in banks and technology stocks offset advances made by heavyweight miners on the back of higher commodity prices.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was flat at 7,091.50 as of 0030 GMT, after advancing about 0.2% earlier in the day. It ended at a 14-month high of 7,095.8 on Wednesday.

Heavyweight miners rose 2.2% to their highest in nearly 13 years, after copper hit a fresh 10-year high overnight on signs of recovery in major economies, raising hopes of increased demand.

Global mining giants BHP Group and Rio Tinto jumped as much as 3.2% and 2.2%, respectively, with BHP being among the top three gainers in the benchmark.

Energy stocks rose about 1%, with Whitehaven Coal and Worley gaining 3.1% and 2.2%, respectively.

Tech stocks, however, tracked overnight Nasdaq Composite losses, slipping as much as 1.7%, and falling for a fifth consecutive session.

Buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay also declined for a fifth straight session, losing as much as 3.2%, while WiseTech Global fell 1.6%.

Banks lost more than 0.5%, with all the "Big Four" banks trading in red.

The country's No. 3 lender National Australia Bank fell about 2%, despite reporting a jump in first-half profit, doubling its dividend and promising higher capital returns.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell as much as 0.7% to 12,759.5.

The top percentage losers were Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp, down 3%, followed by Meridian Energy and Skellerup Holdings losing 1.8% each.

Dairy giant Fonterra laid out plans to overhaul its capital structure and allow farmers easier entry to the cooperative in a move to firm up its financial future. Its shares are halted till Friday.

In other markets, Japan's Nikkei was up 1.22% at 29,163.77, while S&P 500 E-minis futures edged down 0.01%. (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

© Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AFTERPAY LIMITED -0.26% 126 End-of-day quote.6.78%
BHP GROUP -2.16% 37.65 End-of-day quote.-11.27%
FISHER & PAYKEL HEALTHCARE CORPORATION LIMITED 1.82% 30.85 End-of-day quote.-6.43%
FONTERRA CO-OPERATIVE GROUP LIMITED -2.21% 3.1 End-of-day quote.-29.38%
MERIDIAN ENERGY LIMITED -0.40% 5.02 End-of-day quote.-32.35%
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED -0.14% 28.86 End-of-day quote.27.70%
NIKKEI 225 0.34% 28804.85 Real-time Quote.4.96%
S&P/ASX 200 0.00% 7415.5 Real-time Quote.12.58%
SKELLERUP HOLDINGS LIMITED -1.16% 5.96 End-of-day quote.63.29%
WHITEHAVEN COAL LIMITED -3.02% 2.89 End-of-day quote.75.68%
WISETECH GLOBAL LIMITED 0.58% 53.77 End-of-day quote.74.86%
WORLEY LIMITED -0.97% 11.21 End-of-day quote.-2.44%
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