* CSL hits its highest in nearly three months
* Gold stocks snap four day winning streak
* A2 Milk Co set for worst session in more than a month
Aug 19 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Wednesday,
buoyed by strong gains in healthcare stocks after the country's
biggest biotech firm reported a 17% jump in annual earnings,
while a further slowdown in domestic coronavirus cases also
The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 0.4% by 0041 GMT. The
benchmark advanced 0.8% on Tuesday.
CSL's 2020 results were boosted by higher sales of
its immunoglobulin drugs Privigen and Hizentra, which offset
lower plasma collections, as movement curbs due to the virus
outbreak restricted people from donating blood.
The company is also in talks with AstraZeneca to
locally manufacture the British drugmaker's potential COVID-19
Healthcare stocks jumped to their highest in four
months, sparked by the gains in CSL which jumped over 4%.
Adding to the positive note, Australia's second most
populous state recorded 12 COVID-19 deaths, down from 17 a day
earlier, signalling of a further stabilization in new cases.
Technology stocks rose 2.1% led by WiseTech Global
Ltd, up 20.57%, followed by Afterpay Ltd,
which gained 1.91%.
The country's no.4 lender by market cap, Australia and New
Zealand Banking Group, jumped over 2% after it said it
would pay an interim dividend.
Bucking the mood, gold stocks fell 1.16% led by
Resolute Mining Ltd, down 8.18%, followed by AngloGold
Ashanti Ltd, losing 4.76%.
Saracen Mineral Holdings dropped 1% after the gold
miner said it will not pay an annual dividend.
In other news, Crown Resorts lost more than 1.5% as
the country's biggest casino operator posted a plunge in annual
profit and scrapped its final dividend.
As of 0046 GMT, New Zealand's benchmark fell 0.6%,
after touching a six-month high in the previous session, pulled
lower by dairy and real estate stocks.
A2 Milk Co was set for its worst session since July
16 as the dairy producer forecast a slightly lower earnings
margin for fiscal 2021, while country's largest construction
firm Fletcher Building shed nearly 1.5% after reporting
an annual loss.
(Reporting by Deepali Saxena; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)