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Australia shares end flat as healthcare shares rally, energy stocks lose

Australia shares

Australia shares ended flat as healthcare shares rallied to a more than seven-month high, while energy stocks lose

Australian shares ended largely unchanged on Friday as healthcare shares rallied to a more than seven-month high, while energy stocks were the biggest loser after oil prices plunged on oversupply concerns.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 0.04 percent, or 2.60 points, at 6,335.80, after falling 0.6 percent on Thursday. The index snapped four weeks of gains to end its worst week since Feb. 1.

Healthcare shares closed higher for an eighth straight session, as California-based ResMed Inc. reported a 12 percent rise in its quarterly revenue.

Australia-listed shares of ResMed jumped 9.9 percent and were the biggest gainers on the benchmark index, while Sonic Healthcare rose 0.8 percent.

Financials ended the week lower for the first time in three weeks after gaining more than 4 percent in April.

Macquarie Group was among the biggest losers on the sub-index after the investment bank said earnings in 2020 would be “slightly down”. Shares of Macquarie Group tumbled 5.4 percent despite the company beating its own earnings guidance with a 16.6 percent rise in annual net profit and raising its final dividend.

Elsewhere, energy shares slipped 1.3 percent to a more-than-three-week low, after oil prices dropped almost 3 percent as the market grappled with oversupply fears.

The index snapped three weeks of gains and had its worst week since the end of March.

Shares of heavyweight oil explorers Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search fell 0.9 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

Gold stocks lost 1.1 percent after bullion prices hovered near a four-month low hit in the previous session.

Shares of gold miners Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources dropped 1 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended down 0.3 percent, or 27.67 points, at 10,058.08, coming off a record high hit on Thursday. The index gained for a third straight week, climbing 0.6 percent.

Shares of fuel supplier Z Energy dipped 2.8 percent, while port operator Port of Tauranga fell 3.4 percent.

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