* Australian tech stocks hit three-month high
* Miners, energy firms top losers on ASX 200
* Atlas Arteria surges after IFM ups stake
Aug 4 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed flat after a
choppy day of trade on Thursday, as gains in financials and
technology sectors offset losses among mining majors.
The S&P/ASX 200 closed at 6,974.0, after ending 0.3%
lower in the previous session.
Meanwhile, global sentiment recovered after robust services
industry data from the United States indicated that an economic
recession may not be in sight, while supply bottlenecks and
price pressures eased.
However, more U.S. Federal Reserve officials called for
tighter interest rates, leading to market participants
refraining from making large bets.
"There has been nothing moving exceptionally for the day,"
Brad Smoling, Chief Executive Officer of Smoling Stockbroking,
"I think people are trying to assess the recent Australian
central bank move to hike rates and if more rate hikes from the
Fed will be beneficial."
The Reserve Bank of Australia this week raised interest
rates for a fourth month running, but tempered guidance on
further hikes as it forecast faster inflation but also a
slowdown in the economy.
Among individual sectors and stocks, the tech index
led the benchmark higher on Thursday, hitting their highest
since early-May. Accounting software provider Xero and
ASX-listed shares of Block added 0.9% 8.8%.
Financials followed suit, with the "Big Four" banks
gaining between 0.3% and 1.3%.
Separately, Altas Arteria surged 5.7% after fund
manager IFM raised its stake in the toll road developer, just a
week after walking away from a potential takeover deal.
However, miners weighed on the benchmark index,
dropping about 0.9% on account of weak iron prices. Sector
majors Rio Tinto and BHP lost 1.5% and 1.3%.
Energy stocks were also hurt despite Brent prices
gaining in Asian trade, with Woodside Energy and Santos
shedding 2.9% and 1.1%.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 closed 0.3%
higher at 11,735.5.
(Reporting by Archishma Iyer in Bengaluru; editing by