Australian shares struggle to advance; NZ rises

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The S&P/ASX 200 index inched up 0.10 points to 6,268.4 at the close of trade. The benchmark jumped 0.9per cent on Thursday.

The index of health care stocks jumped 1.5per cent to a record high. The defensive sector has significant exports to the U.S., and benefits from weakness in the local currency.

Index heavyweight CSL Ltd climbed 2per cent to its highest ever and was the biggest boost to the benchmark.

Bionic-ear maker Cochlear Ltd rose 3.2per cent and also closed at a record high, while Australia-listed shares of Resmed Inc firmed 0.8per cent.

But financials stocks fell, countering market gains from health care shares.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the biggest lender, slipped 0.5per cent and was the biggest drag. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd dropped 0.7per cent.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index climbed 0.4per cent or 38.72 points to finish the session at 9,024.19. The benchmark had a weekly loss of 0.7per cent, its biggest since April.

Utilities and consumer discretionary stocks led the upward charge on Friday, with Infratil Ltd jumping 2per cent on Friday. Skycity Entertainment Group Ltd rose 1.5per cent. (Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

Source: Economic Times