September 10, 2019 / 3:12 AM / 3 months ago

Australia shares lower as tech, healthcare sectors slip; NZ down

* Tech, healthcare shares are top drags

* Energy stocks boosted by higher oil prices

* Gold stocks continue downward trend

By Nikhil Subba

Sept 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares declined on Tuesday, as technology and healthcare stocks followed Wall Street peers lower, outweighing gains in the energy sector.

The S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 0.6% to 6,608.80 at 0309 GMT. The benchmark ended 0.01% higher on Monday.

Wall Street ended largely flat overnight, as investors pulled back from buying tech and healthcare shares.

Australian tech stocks tumbled about 3%, with logistics software maker WiseTech Global dropping as much as 7.9%, to a 1-1/2 week low, while consumer lender Afterpay Touch Group shed as much as 5%.

Marc Kennis, principal of Pitt Street Research, said 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.”

The healthcare index was down 2.5% to a two-week low. Heavyweight drugmaker CSL fell almost 3%.

Miners were trending lower as copper prices slipped following as China reported a second month of production deflation, pointing to weakening demand for industrial goods. {nAZN0002Z2]

Gold stocks continued to fall as bolstered appetites for riskier assets dropped the precious metal’s prices to a four-week low.

Diversified miner South32 Ltd fell 1.6%, while gold miner OceanGold Corp dropped as much as 5.4% to its lowest in over two weeks.

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

Meanwhile, energy stocks were boosted by a rise in oil prices amid optimism that OPEC and other countries may agree to extend production cuts in a bid to support prices.

Major oil and gas players Santos Ltd and Oil Search both rose more than 3%.

Shares of all of “Big Four” lenders were higher, contributing to the financial index’s 0.2% climb.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slipped nearly 1% lower to 11,100.74, with Scales Corp and Contact Energy as top losers.

Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru

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