* Australian gold index set for worst day since Sept. 11
* COVID-19 cases in Victoria continue to fall
* Healthcare sector helps benchmark limit losses
Sept 21 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell slightly on Monday, as a Wall Street decline in the previous session and surging cases of COVID-19 in Europe pushed investors to look past an improvement in the domestic coronavirus situation.
The S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 0.2% to 5,852.10 by 0102 GMT.
Markets tracked a lower finish on Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite on Friday, with sentiment further dented by resurgence of infections in several European nations.
This is despite the hot spot of Victoria reporting 11 new cases on Monday, better than its three-month low milestone of 14 on Sunday. A steady fall in the daily numbers has put the state on course to ease more curbs.
The Australian gold index fell as much as 1.8% and was set for its worst day since Sept. 11. Top losers were Oceanagold Corp, which tumbled as much as 6.6% to its lowest since May 12, and Anglogold Ashanti down 5.7%.
The wider metals and mining index fell as much as 0.7%, led by Red Ltd’s 3% slide and Saracen Mineral’s drop of more than 2%.
Helping limit the losses on the benchmark, the healthcare sector climbed 1.6%, buoyed by Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals and Sonic Healthcare, up about 3% each.
Citi raised FY21 earnings forecast for Sonic Healthcare on the assumption of high volumes of COVID-19 testing in the United States and Australia in the first half of 2021.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.49% to 11,576.7, its lowest since Aug. 17.
The top percentage losers were Serko Ltd, down 4.63%, followed by Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Ltd that shed 3.47%. (Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)
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