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Australia shares hit record high on tech, healthcare push

08/12/2021 | 09:10pm EDT

Aug 13 (Reuters) - Australian shares touched an all-time high on Friday, lifted by healthcare and technology companies, as investors looked ahead to corporate earnings from heavyweight names next week.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.49% to a record high at 7,625.5 points by 0046 GMT. The benchmark settled 0.05% higher at 7,588.2 points on Thursday.

Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.13% at 27979.19 points, while S&P 500 E-minis futures were down 0.06%.

Earnings season is set to kick into full gear next week, with major lender Westpac and biotech company CSL Ltd set to report their results.

Export-reliant Aussie health stocks climbed 1.5% and were the biggest boosts on the local bourse, helped by a strong U.S. dollar.

CSL Ltd advanced as much as 1.4%, marking its best day in a week.

Local technology stocks rose 1.15%, tracking Wall Street overnight where mega-cap technology stocks drove the market higher.

Software firm Altium Ltd led gains on the sub-index, climbing 3.3%, followed by Codan Ltd, gaining 3.05%.

Financials rose 0.18%, with National Australia Bank Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac rising between 0.4% and 1.3%.

The country's No.1 lender, Commonwealth Bank, slid as much as 1.1%.

Major miners fell 0.66% after iron ore futures skidded overnight on concerns over steel output controls in China and signs of economic slowdown in the world's top metal consumer.

Miner Red 5 Ltd led losses, falling 2.63%, followed by Galaxy Resources Ltd, down 2.2%.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.64% to 12,762.7 points.

(Reporting by Riya Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

© Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ALTIUM LIMITED 1.75% 37.8 End-of-day quote.11.21%
CODAN LIMITED 1.55% 13.1 End-of-day quote.17.17%
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA -0.07% 104.88 End-of-day quote.27.73%
CREDIT CORP GROUP LIMITED 1.54% 33.06 End-of-day quote.11.31%
CSL LIMITED 0.41% 295.86 End-of-day quote.4.48%
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED -0.14% 28.86 End-of-day quote.27.70%
RED 5 LIMITED -1.82% 0.27 End-of-day quote.3.85%
S&P/ASX 200 0.00% 7415.5 Real-time Quote.12.58%
STEADFAST GROUP LIMITED 0.42% 4.79 End-of-day quote.20.05%
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION -0.35% 25.74 End-of-day quote.32.89%
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