Australia shares unchanged as miners, energy stocks offset gains in banks

04/22/2021 | 09:14pm

April 23 (Reuters) - Australian shares were little changed on Friday, looking past a weak finish overnight on Wall Street, as selling in local miners and energy firms offset gains in banks and healthcare companies.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was largely unchanged at 7,053.90 by 0050 GMT. It was on track to lose about 0.2% for the week, snapping a four-week winning streak.

All three major U.S. indexes finished about 1% lower on Thursday following reports that President Joe Biden planned to double the capital gains tax and raise income taxes on the wealthy.

Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei declined 1.36%, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.4% higher overnight.

In Australia, miners were the biggest drags on the benchmark, losing 1%, with mining giants BHP Group and Rio Tinto falling about 1.8%.

Energy firms were down 0.6%, with Oil Search leading the losses as it shed 1.6% on slashing its 2021 investment expense.

Financial stocks edged higher. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and National Australia Bank added 0.4% and 0.6%, respectively.

Troubled wealth manager AMP jumped to the top of the index, advancing 7.6%, after it announced plans of a spin off and re-branding of its unit AMP Capital's private markets business, ending talks with Ares Management to sell the business.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index swung between positive and negative territory, and was little changed as of 0015 GMT. It was on track to lose 0.8% for the week.

The top percentage gainer on the benchmark was Mercury NZ Ltd, adding 3.28%, while top loser was Vista Group International, slipping 2.6%. (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

© Reuters 2022
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