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Australia shares snap 5-day winning streak on earnings concerns; NZ edge up

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares stepped back slightly to snap a five day winning streak on Tuesday, as earnings worries dragged on consumer and healthcare stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was off 0.1 per cent, or 5.488 points, at 5,755.2 by the close of trade. The benchmark ended up 0.7 per cent in the previous session.

The healthcare care sector was pressured by a sharp 3.6 per cent fall in Cochlear Ltd as its record half year profit was eclipsed by concerns over sales in China.

The firm said the number of implants for young children it sold under Beijing's national tender scheme fell 35.3 per cent compared to the previous year and cut its full-year outlook for those units.

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A glass half-empty view also hurt world No 1 stand-alone wine company, Treasury Wine Estates Ltd, which offered a muted outlook after a strong half year result. Its shares tumbled 4.7 per cent, taking down the consumer non-cyclical sector with it.

Both stocks were the worst performers on the benchmark. A rally in basic materials stocks also faded by day's end with the materials index ending 0.03 per cent up.

China's iron ore futures rose on Tuesday to their highest in more than three years, while copper held on to solid overnight gains amid supply concerns and ahead of testimony from US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen later in the day Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals rose 2.6 per cent, hitting its highest in more than six years. Rio Tinto tacked on 0.3 per cent, its highest close in nearly 3 years.

BHP Billiton, however, ended the day 0.9 per cent lower.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was up 0.22 per cent, or 15.39 points, to finish the session at 7,150.89.

Port Tauranga and Metlifecare were the biggest gainers on the index, adding 2.3 per cent and 1.7 respectively.

On the downside, NZX Ltd and web advertiser Trade Me Group lost 2.6 per cent and 1.7 per cent, respectively.

REUTERS

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