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Australia: Shares finish the day higher
[SYDNEY] Australian shares inched higher on Thursday, snapping a three-day losing streak, as gains in financials and healthcare sectors slightly outweighed losses in other counters.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended up 0.2 per cent, or 9.428 points, to 5,676.6.
Investors shrugged of trade data that showed Australia's trade surplus in April shrank 82 per cent to A$555 million (S$577.9 million), falling far behind the forecasted A$1.95 billion surplus.
Gains on the index were led by a rise between 0.7 per cent and 1.1 per cent in the 'Big 4' banks and a 3.1 per cent rise in healthcare stock CSL Ltd.
Miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals were up between 0.4 per cent and 0.7 per cent.
Miners were lifted by Chinese data showing that it imported 91.52 million tonnes of iron ore in May, up 11.3 per cent from the previous month. China is Australia's biggest trading partner.
On the other hand, a dip in gold prices led to a slide in gold stocks with Newcrest Mining falling 0.7 per cent.
Telecom stock Telstra contributed most to the decline on the benchmark, down 1.4 per cent, while industrial Sydney Airport ended 2.3 per cent lower.
Oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum also lost 1.6 per cent.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 9.24 points, or 0.124 per cent, to finish 7,458.66, logging its third straight day of declines.
Sanford Ltd lost the most on the index, down 2.3 per cent, while Auckland International Airport was the biggest drag, losing 1.4 per cent.
Gains on the index were led by Sky Network Television , which rose 2.7 per cent.