* Shares close nearly flat
* OZ Minerals tops ASX 200
* Survey shows NZ inflation likely to slowdown in third
Aug 8 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed nearly flat in a
choppy trading session on Monday, with miners and energy stocks
witnessing gains, while investors anxiously eyed U.S inflation
data due later in the week to gauge the Federal Reserve's
strategy around rate hikes.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.07% higher at 7,020.6,
The benchmark had clocked its third straight weekly gain last
A higher U.S. inflation reading on Wednesday could dent
investor expectations of a dovish shift by the Fed.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), meanwhile, has warned
of further rate hikes to balance supply and demand in the
economy. Analysts at UBS, however, expect the RBA to try to find
a "narrow" path to avoid a hard-landing from aggressive hikes.
Miners rose 2.3% and were the top gainers on the
benchmark. Rio Tinto and BHP jumped nearly 2%
and 0.8%, respectively.
OZ Minerals surged 35.3% after it rejected a A$8.34
billion ($5.78 billion) takeover bid from BHP Group as the offer
significantly undervalued the nickel and copper miner.
Local energy stocks climbed 1.9%, with heavyweights
Woodside Energy and Santos advancing 2.1% and
Techology shares fell 0.3%, tracking losses in Wall
Street peers as a strong jobs data report torpedoed recent
optimism that Fed might let up its aggressive rake hike
ASX-listed shares of Block Inc dropped 7.2%.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index
closed 0.22% lower at 11,702.81, while a survey showed near-term
rate of inflation is expected to slow in the third
($1 = 1.4418 Australian dollars)
(Reporting By Navya Mittal in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)