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
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%,
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
(Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi