* CSL boosts healthcare index
* Treasury Wines tumbles after China's anti-dumping probe
* New Zealand shares close higher
Aug 18 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed higher on
Tuesday, with healthcare stocks leading gains, as the central
bank's minutes showed some optimism around its economy and the
rapid spread of the novel coronavirus in the country appeared to
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.8% higher at 6,123.40,
following a 0.8% slide on Monday.
The Reserve Bank of Australia does not see a need to further
ease policy for now as its measures were working "broadly as
expected" with a recovery underway in most of the country, its
August policy meeting's minutes showed.
"The RBA does seem a little more optimistic on the outlook
and not as pessimistic as they were," Henry Jennings, senior
analyst at Marcus Today Financial said.
"If things did get bad, they could do further stimulus
measures. So, I think that has helped the markets."
Aiding sentiment, lower COVID-19 cases were reported in
Victoria and New South Wales and Australia is now set to mark
its lowest one-day rise in infections in a month.
Healthcare stocks climbed 4.2% to close at their
highest since May 26, boosted by CSL Ltd's 4.4% jump.
The drugmaker said it is in talks with Cambridge-based
AstraZeneca, a frontrunner in the global race for a
COVID-19 vaccine, to see if a potential coronavirus vaccine can
be manufactured locally.
Technology stocks rose 2.1%, led by Megaport Ltd
, up 10.7%, followed by WiseTech Global Ltd,
But limiting gains on the benchmark was Treasury Wine
Estates, which dropped 14.4% to its lowest close since
July 10, after China, its biggest market, began an anti-dumping
investigation into imports of wine from Australia.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose
1.51% to 11,849.1.
Top gainers were Summerset Group Holdings Ltd, up
6.44% and Synlait Milk Ltd, gaining 4.86%.
(Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)