September 10, 2019 / 6:47 AM / 5 months ago

Australia shares slip, pressured by tech, healthcare stocks; NZ falls

* WiseTech Global biggest drag on benchmark

* Gold stocks fall for 4th straight session

* Oil prices at six-week high, energy stocks gain (Updates to close)

By Nikhil Subba

Sept 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares declined on Tuesday, as gains in the energy sector were overshadowed by falls by technology and healthcare stocks, as well for gold miners.

The S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 0.5% to 6,614.10 at the close. The benchmark inched 0.01% higher on Monday.

Overnight, Wall Street was also pressured by U.S. tech and healthcare stocks, leading it to close largely flat.

The Australian tech index was 3.4% lower at the close.

The biggest drag on the Australian benchmark, logistics software maker WiseTech Global, ended the session over 7% lower, hitting a 1-1/2 week low

Australian tech stocks “have seen valuations recently that are uncommon in most other sectors. Investors may be taking some money off the table after the strong performances of some of the highest flying tech stocks”, said Marc Kennis, principal of Pitt Street Research.

Gold stocks plunged over 4%, the index’s fourth straight losing session, as bolstered appetites for riskier assets dropped the precious metal’s prices to a four-week low.

The broader mining index shed nearly 1% on a second consecutive down day.

Australian graphite miner Syrah Resources Ltd said it would reduce production in October-December to about 5,000 tonnes per month, sending its shares down as much as 41.1% to its lowest level since February 2012.

Oil and gas heavyweights Santos Ltd and Oil Search both rose more than 3%, lifting the energy index up 2.4% in the sector’s best session since June 21.

Energy stocks benefitted from higher oil prices, which rose to a six week high, amid optimism that OPEC and other countries may agree to extend production cuts in a bid to support prices.

The financial index ended 0.2% higher, buoyed by Westpac Banking Corp, up nearly 1%, and National Australia Bank, which climbed 1.6%.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 0.5% to finish at 11,142.58.

Air New Zealand closed 3.5% down, at its lowest level since Aug. 22, while A2 Milk slipped about 2%.

Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Borsuk

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