* AMP sees best day in 17 years on takeover offer
* Financials mark biggest intraday gain in more than two
* Gold stocks touch 4-month low
Oct 30 (Reuters) - Australian shares edged lower on Friday
as concerns about the global economic health due to surging
COVID-19 cases around the world overshadowed upbeat U.S. data,
with the benchmark heading for its biggest weekly drop since
The S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 0.3% or 20.50 points
to 5,939.8 by 0143 GMT.
While the U.S. economy grew at a record pace in the third
quarter, helping Wall Street close higher, surging COVID-19
cases in the country and in Europe, the resultant nationwide
lockdowns in Germany and France weighed on sentiment.
Fears about what these would mean for an already fragile
economic recovery pressured Australian stocks, with the gold
sub-index driving losses. The index fell 1.4% to a
OceanaGold Corp slumped 10%, followed by Red 5 Ltd
, down 4.3%.
The Australian tech index dropped 1.3%. Fintech firm
EML Payments Ltd and machine learning company Appen Ltd
were among biggest laggards, down 3.8% and 2.3%,
Healthcare shares slid 0.7%, with the industry major
CSL Ltd shedding 0.4%.
Financial stocks were a bright spot as they added as
much as 1.4% and marked their biggest intraday gain in more than
two weeks, largely due to AMP Ltd's 20% surge.
Shares of the troubled wealth manager saw their biggest
intraday percentage gain in 17 years and topped the benchmark
after U.S.-based Ares Management Corp made a
non-binding acquisition offer which local media says could be
valued about A$5 billion ($3.56 billion).
The number of issues on the ASX that advanced were 713,
while 569 declined as a 1.3-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell
0.5% to 12,138.8, dragged by Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp
and Auckland International Airport.
($1 = 1.4027 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; editing by