2 Min Read
(Updates to close)
June 8 (Reuters) - Australian shares inched higher on Thursday, snapping a three-day losing streak, as gains in financials and healthcare sectors slightly outweighed losses in other counters.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended up 0.2 percent, or 9.428 points, to 5,676.6.
Investors shrugged of trade data that showed Australia's trade surplus in April shrank 82 percent to A$555 million ($418.97 million), falling far behind the forecasted A$1.95 billion surplus.
Gains on the index were led by a rise between 0.7 percent and 1.1 percent in the 'Big 4' banks and a 3.1 percent rise in healthcare stock CSL Ltd.
Miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals were up between 0.4 percent and 0.7 percent.
Miners were lifted by Chinese data showing that it imported 91.52 million tonnes of iron ore in May, up 11.3 percent from the previous month. China is Australia's biggest trading partner.
On the other hand, a dip in gold prices led to a slide in gold stocks with Newcrest Mining falling 0.7 percent.
Telecom stock Telstra contributed most to the decline on the benchmark, down 1.4 percent, while industrial Sydney Airport ended 2.3 percent lower.
Oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum also lost 1.6 percent.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 9.24 points, or 0.124 percent, to finish 7,458.66, logging its third straight day of declines.
Sanford Ltd lost the most on the index, down 2.3 percent, while Auckland International Airport was the biggest drag, losing 1.4 percent.
Gains on the index were led by Sky Network Television , which rose 2.7 percent.
$1 = 1.3247 Australian dollars Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill