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Australia: Healthcare shares lift market; New Zealand up but faces big weekly loss

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Healthcare stocks led gains in Australian shares on Friday after strong results from medical device-maker Resmed, while the broader market tracked overnight gains by most Wall Street indexes amid optimism over corporate earnings

[BENGALURU] Healthcare stocks led gains in Australian shares on Friday after strong results from medical device-maker Resmed, while the broader market tracked overnight gains by most Wall Street indexes amid optimism over corporate earnings.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.7 per cent or 44 points to 6,737.60 by 0053 GMT. The benchmark was set to rise a third straight week, as a better-than-expected US earnings season helped ease fears of slowing economic growth.

More than 80 per cent of the 168 S&P 500 companies reporting quarterly results have beaten profit expectations, according to Refinitiv data. The Nasdaq index ended 0.8 higher on Thursday following strong reports from several technology companies.

Bets for an interest rate cut by the US Federal Reserve next week also surged after weak economic data.

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In Australia, healthcare stocks rose 1.6 per cent and were the biggest boost to the ASX 200. The subindex was about 1 per cent off its record high touched last week.

Local shares of San Diego-based Resmed Inc led gains after its quarterly results beat expectations, causing the stock surge 15 per cent to a record high.

Index heavyweight CSL gained more than 1 per cent, while hearing devices maker Cochlear rose 1.8 per cent.

Gold stocks advanced 1.9 per cent after bullion prices rose on expectations of monetary policy trimming from the Fed.

Newcrest Mining, the largest listed gold miner in Australia, moved up about 1.5 per cent.

Broader mining stocks rose 0.6 per cent, tracking strength in iron ore and copper prices. BHP Group and Rio Tinto, the largest miners on the ASX 200, increased about 0.1 per cent and 0.7 per cent, respectively.

The mining subindex was on track to add 2.8 per cent for the week, which would be the biggest gain since late August.

Technology stocks rose about 1.6 per cent. The best performer was software developer Bravura Solutions, up 3.8 per cent.

Cleanaway Waste Management dropped 13.4 per cent and was the worst performer on the ASX 200 after forecasting flat earnings for the first half of fiscal 2020.

Smaller rival Bingo Industries fell nearly 5 per cent.

New Zealand shares edged up slightly, but were set to shed nearly 2 per cent for the week after earlier losses in major power retailers.

The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2 per cent or 18.83 points to 10,850.35.

Meridian Energy, the biggest energy retailer, edged up 0.2 per cent, but was on track for its worst week in three years.

Synlait Milk rose 0.4 per cent after it said it would buy a private dairy firm.

REUTERS