July 12, 2018 / 6:26 AM / 2 months ago

Australian shares rebound, banks and health care support; NZ down

* Aussie shares gain on banks and health care stocks

* NZ falls on a2 milk slump (Updates to close)

July 12 (Reuters) - Australian shares bounced back on Thursday, in line with broader Asia, with banks and healthcare stocks leading the gains.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.9 percent or 52.70 points to 6,268.30 at the close of trade.

The benchmark had dipped 0.8 percent on Wednesday, after Washington’s threat to impose tariffs on a further $200 billion of Chinese imports rang alarm bells across financial markets.

China has accused the United States of bullying and warned it could hit back, although it was unclear how it would retaliate.

“The news of extra tariffs dominated the global markets... and clearly our markets priced it in,” said James McGlew, Executive director of corporate stockbroking at Argonaut.

Banks accounted for nearly half the gains on the benchmark, with the financial index climbing 1.4 percent.

The country’s “big four banks” rose between 1.6-2.2 percent and were among the biggest contributors to the main index.

Health care stocks also underpinned the market, strengthening 2.3 percent to a record high. Index heavyweight CSL Ltd firmed 2.6 percent to its highest ever level.

Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slipped 0.2 percent or 15.92 points to finish at a more than a one-week low of 8,985.47.

Dairy firm a2 Milk Company Ltd led the slide, falling 3.5 after it said its annual revenue had jumped nearly 70 percent, but flagged higher costs in the year ahead as it ramps up its business in the dairy-hungry markets of China. (Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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