October 25, 2019 / 6:33 AM / 22 days ago

Healthcare stocks drive Australian market higher; NZ down

* Australian shares of Resmed surge 11% on strong results

* Healthcare index rises nearly 2% to all-time high

* Cleanaway Waste Management drops 13%, worst performer on ASX (Updates to close, adds comment)

By Niyati Shetty

Oct 25 (Reuters) - Australian stocks climbed on Friday, underpinned by sharp gains in healthcare plays as solid results from medical device maker Resmed reflected signs of stability in the key U.S. market.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.7%, or 45.6 points, to 6,739.20, adding 1.4% for the week.

Local shares of San Diego, U.S.-based Resmed Inc led gains with an 11% jump to a record close, after the company’s quarterly results beat expectations.

Resmed’s results showed that the U.S. markets were still ticking on quite nicely and that helped shore up the rest of the healthcare sector, said Dale Raynes, associate director at CPS Capital.

Export-reliant healthcare stocks rose 1.8% to all-time highs, with sector heavyweight CSL Ltd and hearing devices maker Cochlear Ltd adding 1.6% and 2.6%, respectively.

Meanwhile, gold prices advanced to a 2-week high, driving gains in bullion stocks.

Newcrest Mining Ltd moved up about 1.3%, while Resolute Mining Ltd gained 9.6% after the company said repair works at one of its mines would not affect gold output.

Broader mining stocks climbed, with Rio Tinto Ltd gaining 0.5% and Fortescue Metals Group rising 0.8%. The index added 2.8% for the week, its biggest since late August.

Technology stocks rose about 0.7%, tracking gains in Wall Street peers. Software provider Xero Ltd added 2% and Computershare Ltd rose 1.3%.

Cleanaway Waste Management Ltd dropped 13.2% and was the worst performer on the ASX 200 after the company forecast flat earnings for the first half of fiscal 2020.

Smaller rival Bingo Industries Ltd fell 2.1%.

Across the Tasman Sea, the New Zealand benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.4%, or 42.88 points, to 10,788.64. It shed 2.5% for the week, dragged by major power retailers.

Meridian Energy Ltd fell 2.8% and recorded its worst week ever with an 8.9% drop. (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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