SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, July 29 (Reuters) - Australian shares were unchanged on Friday, and New Zealand stocks edged slightly higher as investors on both sides of the Tasman took a breather ahead of the August reporting season.
The S&P/ASX 200 index added 2 points to 5,558.6 by 0221 GMT, a rise of 0.04 percent. The benchmark has moved little this week, edging up just over 1 percent. Though the index has rallied 8.8 percent since Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in June.
“The market’s marking time,” said Michael Gunn, an equities advisor at Burrell Stockbroking.
“We’ve sort of been doing that for most of this week, coming into reporting season. I think that investors are on the sidelines and taking a bit of a wait-and-see approach to have a look at what sort of numbers companies are going to put out there.”
Iron ore prices ran to 12-week highs, but mining stocks eased as profit-taking investors sold off their stakes.
BHP Billiton Ltd fel 0.85 percent, Rio Tinto Ltd lost 1.3 percent and Fortescue Metals Group fell 2.8 percent, backing away from a 2-year high.
Oil company Beach Energy fell as much as 4.8 percent, tracking oil prices lower.
Losses among miners and energy companies were offset by modest gains in most other sectors.
Shares in Bega Cheese Ltd surged 7 percent and shares in Murray Goulburn subsidiary MG Unit trust fell 5.6 percent after Australia’s top grocer Woolworths switched own-label supply deal from Murray Goulburn to Bega.
Shares in Mayne Pharma Group Ltd added as much as 3.1 percent after it announced it had settled a patents lawsuit. Medical equipment manufacturer ResMed Inc stock rose 4.1 percent to a 15-month high after it announced a 14 percent jump in revenue, beating expectations.
National Australia Bank rose 0.7 percent, Westpac Banking Corp added 0.65 percent.
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New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.3 percent or 22 points to 7,328.26 Friday.
The biggest gainers included health and beauty products manufacturer Comvita, up 4.4 percent on some bargain hunting after the stock had come under pressure this week.
The biggest losers included online classifieds business Trade Me, down 0.8 percent. (Reporting by Tom Westbrook and Rebecca Howard; Editing by Eric Meijer)