Australia shares rise as weaker Aussie dlr boosts export-reliant healthcare stocks

Australia shares rise as weaker Aussie dlr boosts export-reliant healthcare stocks

Australian shares ended higher after a choppy session on Thursday, led by gains in export-reliant healthcare stocks due to a dip in the Australian dollar.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.2 per cent at 6,790.6, after slipping as much as 0.1 per cent earlier in the session. The benchmark was up 0.5 per cent on Wednesday.

Export-reliant healthcare stocks saw their fourth consecutive session of gains and hit an over one-month high as a weaker domestic currency continued to benefit companies that earn in U.S dollars.

The Aussie was holding on at $0.7594 and only a whisker away from the February trough of $0.7564, while the U.S. dollar hit a fresh four-month high against the euro on Thursday.

“Healthcare has always been a bellwether and they are telling us right now that there is support for defensive positions,” said Brad Smoling, Managing Director of Smoling Stockbroking.

Sector heavyweight CSL gained 1.4 per cent, while medical diagnostic services provider Sonic Healthcare rose 1.6 per cent.

Utility stocks also rose, with power producer AGL Energy rising 0.3 per cent.

Australia’s technology stocks, however, limited gains and fell 1.1 per cent, tracking an overnight tumble among their U.S. peers.

“Concern right now is that since we are seeing the NASDAQ in correction, it is very hard to foresee that this is not going to affect the rest of the market. Naturally, the Australian market is correlating to the selloff,” Smoling added.

Buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay dropped 1.9 per cent to close at a two week low, while machine learning and AI company Appen Ltd sank 3.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, exchange operator Cboe Global Markets Inc said that it would acquire Chi-X Australia, the country’s second largest securities exchange behind ASX

Shares of ASX dropped 1 per cent at close of trade.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.2 per cent higher at 12,388.06 points. Building materials manufacturer Fletcher Building Ltd was the top gainer on the bourse.

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