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Australia shares make gains for fourth straight session; NZ flat
[BENGALURU] Australian shares closed showing a marginal upside bias that was enough to register a fourth consecutive day of gains on Friday, as advances in the telecom and financial sectors slightly outweighed declines in basic material and consumer stocks.
Investors were watching for US jobs data due later in the global day as it may provide clues on the pace of possible US interest rate hikes this year and on the sustainability of Wall Street's post election rally.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.04 per cent, or 2.25 points, at 5,755.6 at the close of trade, its highest since May 29, 2015. The index gained 1.6 per cent over the week.
Basic material stocks were the biggest drag on the main index with BHP Billiton falling 0.5 per cent and Rio Tinto shedding 0.6 per cent.
Fortescue Metals however, gained 0.3 per cent on the back of rising iron ore prices.
The metals and mining index was down 0.4 per cent on Friday, though over the week it gained 2.11 per cent.
Gold stocks retreated as gold prices slipped, losing gains made on bullion's earlier climb to one month highs.
Newcrest Mining closed up 0.3 per cent, having stood 2.3 per cent earlier in the day.
Oceanagold also finished 4.3 per cent up, trimming an earlier 6.2 per cent gain.
Financial stocks were flat with the financial index up 0.13 per cent. The 'Big Four' banks gaining between 0.1 and 0.3 per cent. The index gained 2.3 per cent this week.
Consumer stocks lost with retailers Woolworths and Wesfarmers losing around 0.3 per cent each. Ardent Leisure ended 0.5 per cent lower after the company recorded a 63 per cent drop in revenue following a fatal accident at its Dreamworld theme park.
Telecom stocks led the gainers on the main index with Telstra Corp advancing 0.7 per cent.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was down 0.07 per cent, or 4.94 points, at 6,970.66, though the index gained 1.3 per cent on the week.
Losses in Z Energy and Ryman Healthcare of more than 2 per cent and 1 per cent respectively led the declines on the index while a 0.6 per cent climb in Spark New Zealand Ltd and Westpac Banking Corp led the gains.