Australia shares end 7-day rally as miners and healthcare slip; NZ down
* Investors take profit after 7-day winning streak
* Index down after hitting near 7-month high in previous
* Miners, healthcare & energy stocks lose most
(Updates to close)
April 4 (Reuters) - Australian shares slipped on Thursday,
with recent outperformers such as mining and healthcare stocks
posting steep losses as investors booked profits after an
impressive seven-day rally.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended down 0.8 percent or 52.2
points at 6,232.8. The benchmark rose 0.7 percent on Wednesday.
The index slipped from a near 7-month high scaled in the
previous session, snapping its longest uninterrupted run of
gains since October 2017.
"It does seems to be a bit of profit-taking on the basis
that this a knee-jerk reaction out of the gates in trade today,"
said Kyle Rodda, market analyst at IG markets.
Miners slipped 1 percent, with mining behemoths BHP
Group Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd falling 1.2
percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.
Iron ore prices extended their red-hot rally on declining
shipments from Brazil and Australia amid higher Chinese demand,
however, investors sold off shares to book a neat profit after
the mining sub-index's over 7-year closing high in the previous
The world's fourth largest iron ore miner Fortescue Metals
Group slipped 1 percent, after a staggering near 20
percent gain in the last seven sessions.
Healthcare stocks also tumbled, with index
heavyweight CSL Ltd shedding 1.7 percent, while
Cochlear Ltd and Resmed Inc fell 2.2 percent
and 2.5 percent, respectively.
Financial stocks also felt the heat, with the top
four banks falling between 0.2 and 0.8 percent. National
Australia Bank fell most among them.
Insurers were among top losers, with Suncorp Group Ltd
tumbling 2.2 percent and Insurance Australia Group Ltd
shedding 1.8 percent.
Energy stocks slid, with heavyweight Woodside
Petroleum Ltd falling 2.1 percent, while Santos Ltd
lost 2.5 percent.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50
index fell 0.47 percent or 46.66 points to finish the
session at 9,892.60.
Contact Energy Ltd was the top loser, slipping 2.7
percent while Spark New Zealand Ltd dropped 1.6
(Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Additional reporting
by Aby Jose Koilparambil; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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