Banks, miners lift Australia shares; tech stocks track Wall Street peers lower
Wednesday, May 05, 2021       09:11 WIB

May 5 (Reuters) - Australian shares edged higher on Wednesday, led by heavyweight miners and banks, while losses in tech companies tracking overnight Wall Street losses capped gains.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2% to 7,080.80 as at 0040 GMT, after slipping as much as 0.2% earlier.
Overnight, Wall Street finished lower as investors dumped heavyweight growth stocks. Blue-chip tech giants dragged the Nasdaq Composite index about 2% lower, its biggest single-day decline in almost six weeks.
Australian tech stocks tracked these losses and fell nearly 2%, with heavyweight buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay and WiseTech Global dropping 3.6% and 2.5%, respectively.
Banks were the top boosts to the benchmark, advancing as much as 0.7% to hit their highest since February last year.
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group jumped as much as 0.8%, after its first-half cash profit more than doubled from last year. It, however, declined about 2% later in the session.
The country's No. 2 lender Westpac Banking Corp was up as much as 0.4%, brushing off a civil proceeding initiated by the Australian corporate watchdog against the bank on allegations of insider trading.
Miners traded 0.2% lower after gaining about 0.4% earlier in the session, with gold miners being the biggest drags after bullion prices fell more than 1% overnight.
Gold miners were down 1.8%, with Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources shedding 1% and 2.8%, respectively.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell as much as 1% to 12,787.44.
The top percentage losers in the benchmark were Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation, down 2.31%, followed by Vista Group International and Mercury NZ, losing about 2% each.
Data showed unemployment rate in the country fell unexpectedly in the March quarter, as the economy created more jobs than forecast.

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