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Australia shares end flat; NZ reaches another record high

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares ended flat on Thursday after touching a near-10 year intraday high, helped by healthcare and energy stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index finished up 0.1 per cent, or 6.7 points, at 6077.1. At one point, it was 0.5 per cent ahead to 6,102.2, its highest level since January 2008. On Wednesday, the benchmark rose 0.2 per cent.

Australia underperformed Asian shares in general, which scaled a 10-year peak, while oil prices stayed around their highest in over two years.

The three main Wall Street stock indices all hit record closes on Wednesday.

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Market voices on:

"The Aussie market is very subdued today, hovering around the unchanged level," said Peter Spanos, volatility risk manager at CMC Markets.

"We haven't really been influenced by the broader Asian market rally today, or the overnight lead from Wall Street." Woodside Petroleum Ltd climbed 2.7 per cent to its highest close since August 2015, while biotherapeutics developer CSL Ltd gained 1.5 per cent.

Oil Search Ltd was the top gainer on Australia's main index, up 3.6 per cent to its best close in more than two years.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2 per cent, or 18.59 points to finish the session at a record high of 8,443.5.

Healthcare stocks and industrials led the gains. Ryman Healthcare Ltd was the best performer on the main index, closing up 2.5 per cent to a record high.

Auckland International Airport Ltd rose 1.7 per cent and closed at its highest in more than two weeks.

REUTERS