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
CSL Ltd advanced as much as 1.4%, marking its best day in a
Local technology stocks rose 1.15%, tracking Wall
Street overnight where mega-cap technology stocks drove the
Software firm Altium Ltd led gains on the
sub-index, climbing 3.3%, followed by Codan Ltd,
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
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