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Australia shares close lower as healthcare, tech stocks drag

11/08/2021 | 01:03am EST

* Benchmark snaps three-day winning streak

* BHP firms on stake sale of its metallurgical coal unit

* Healthcare index records worst day in almost a month

Nov 8 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended lower on Monday, as losses in healthcare and tech stocks outpaced gains in miners after BHP Group announced stake sale of its metallurgical coal unit to Stanmore Resources.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.06% to 7,452.2, breaking a three-session winning streak. The benchmark added 0.4% on Friday.

Healthcare stocks lost 1.24% after gaining for all five trading days last week, with Polynovo Ltd and Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals being the top losers on the sector index and the benchmark.

"We're seeing some selling in growth stocks, which is tech and healthcare stocks in our market," said Mathan Somasundaram, chief executive officer at Deep Data Analytics.

"That's because of what's happening with rate hikes and tapering, so in a risk-off market, the high growth stocks tend to be the ones that take most of the pressure," he added.

The Reserve Bank of Australia last week skipped a key bond purchase used to regulate its yield curve, but struck an extremely cautious tone with regards to rate hikes, sparking volatility in the country's debt and currency markets.

Tech stocks also fell 1.72%, dragged by Xero Ltd and heavyweight Afterpay, down 4.86% and 0.64%, respectively.

The heavyweight mining sector advanced 0.72% as BHP firmed 0.8% on selling its 80% stake in a Queensland-based metallurgical coal joint venture to Stanmore Resources for up to $1.35 billion.

Stanmore, though not a part of the benchmark, soared 14.01% to notch its best intraday session since 2016.

Energy stocks added 1.95% with heavyweights Woodside Petroleum and Santos Ltd gaining about 3% each, as oil prices firmed on renewed supply concerns.

In one of the biggest deals in the country, Sydney Airport rose 2.79% on saying it would accept a A$23.6 billion ($17.5 billion) takeover bid from a consortium of infrastructure investors.

Meanwhile, another takeover saga came to an end as Australian Pharmaceutical Industries accepted Wesfarmers' bid for A$763.6 million. API's shares rose 3.70%, while Wesfarmers' fell 0.50%.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index retreated from a two-week high to close 0.255% down at 13,041.3. (Reporting by Harshita Swaminathan; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AFTERPAY LIMITED -2.18% 66.47 End-of-day quote.-19.93%
BHP GROUP -4.81% 45.7 Delayed Quote.15.69%
CLINUVEL PHARMACEUTICALS LIMITED -6.86% 23.61 Delayed Quote.-6.84%
POLYNOVO LIMITED -5.39% 1.405 Delayed Quote.-2.62%
SANTOS LIMITED -2.62% 7.07 Delayed Quote.15.06%
STANMORE RESOURCES LIMITED 0.43% 1.16 Delayed Quote.11.59%
SYDNEY AIRPORT LIMITED 0.12% 8.66 Delayed Quote.-0.35%
WESFARMERS LIMITED -2.27% 53.07 Delayed Quote.-8.43%
WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LTD -2.40% 25.19 Delayed Quote.17.69%
XERO LIMITED -0.08% 117.31 Delayed Quote.-17.00%
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