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Australia shares rise on tech boost; Westpac drops on profit miss

10/31/2021 | 07:08pm EST

Nov 1 (Reuters) - Australian shares climbed on Monday, kicking off the new month on a positive note, with domestic technology stocks catching the tailwind from a bounce on Wall Street, while Westpac dropped 5.3% after the lender missed annual profit estimates.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.4% at 7,351.2, as of 0007 GMT. The benchmark closed 1.4% lower on Friday.

Elsewhere, S&P 500 E-minis futures rose 0.2%.

Westpac Banking Corp said it would return A$5.7 billion ($4.2 billion) to shareholders in dividends and a buyback, but profit at the No. 3 lender were below consensus Refinitiv forecast of A$5.5 billion despite more than doubling to A$5.35 billion.

Westpac, the best performing stock among the "Big Four" banks this year, dropped 5.3% and marked its worst intraday session since June 11, 2020.

The broader financials sub-index fell more than 1%.

Major indexes on Wall Street gained on Friday, as Microsoft Corp closed at a record high to offset losses in Amazon and Apple shares.

Australian technology stocks gained as much as 1.5%, with software firm Altium rising 3.4%.

Healthcare stocks also rose, benefiting from a 1.2% rise in sector heavyweight CSL Ltd

Meanwhile, AusNet Services Ltd said it agreed to a binding A$10.2 billion ($7.66 billion) takeover offer by Brookfield Asset Management Inc, but added that rival bidder APA Group was free to make a better counter-offer.

Shares of the energy infrastructure firm jumped as much as 5.3% to notch their highest in more than a month. AusNet was also among the top gainers in the benchmark index.

Miners, however, were set to record their fourth straight session of losses, as weaker iron ore prices pulled heavyweights Rio Tinto and BHP Group down 0.2% and 0.9%, respectively.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was down 0.3% at 13,061.3, driven lower by financial and industrial stocks.

(Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ALTIUM LIMITED -3.27% 37.81 Delayed Quote.-16.33%
AMAZON.COM, INC. -5.95% 2852.86 Delayed Quote.-14.44%
APA GROUP -2.43% 9.63 Delayed Quote.-4.27%
APPLE INC. -1.28% 162.41 Delayed Quote.-7.35%
AUSNET SERVICES LTD 0.40% 2.51 Delayed Quote.-2.33%
BHP GROUP -4.81% 45.7 Delayed Quote.10.12%
BROOKFIELD ASSET MANAGEMENT INC. -2.13% 67.2 Delayed Quote.-12.03%
CSL LIMITED -2.48% 264.52 Delayed Quote.-9.01%
MICROSOFT CORPORATION -1.85% 296.03 Delayed Quote.-10.32%
S&P 500 -1.89% 4397.94 Delayed Quote.-7.73%
S&P/ASX 200 -2.27% 7175.8 Real-time Quote.-3.61%
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION -0.62% 20.98 Delayed Quote.-1.73%
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