June 18 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed higher on
Friday and booked a weekly gain, as tech stocks surged on the
back of an overnight rally in U.S. peers while a stronger dollar
lifted export-reliant healthcare firms.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.13% to 7,368.9 at the
close of trade. It firmed 0.8% for the week to notch its fifth
straight weekly gain, having breached the 7,400 level for the
first time on Wednesday.
"Stocks have been very resilient this week and sell-offs
have been marginal ... any risk from a possible hike in rates or
other sources isn't manifesting in prices at the moment," said
Kyle Rodda, an analyst at IG Markets.
"There seems to be a tendency to rotate to other stocks
instead of dumping them altogether".
Tech stocks jumped over 3%, after gains in U.S.
peers drove the Nasdaq higher overnight.
Buy-now-pay-later firms Zip Co and Afterpay Ltd
jumped 9.9% and 6.5%, respectively.
Export-dependent healthcare stocks gained more than
1% as the greenback strengthened against the Australian dollar
after hints of a sooner-than-expected tapering of U.S. monetary
Drugmaker CSL Ltd was up 1.1%, while medical device
maker Resmed Inc advanced 2.7%.
But mining stocks closed over 1% lower, with sector
heavyweight BHP Group and top gold producer Newcrest
Mining losing 2.5% and 2.9%, respectively.
Energy stocks dropped 1.9% as oil prices weakened
due to the firmer U.S. dollar.
Woolworths Group fell as much as 1.9% to an over
two-week low after the industrial relations watchdog said it was
suing the country's largest supermarket chain for underpaying
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended
marginally higher at 12,551.9, helped by gains in consumer and
Air New Zealand fell 0.3% after saying it expected
losses in fiscal 2021 and 2022.
(Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya