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Australia: Shares set to snap 4-day rally; US jobs data awaited

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Australian shares edged lower on Friday, dragged by healthcare and technology stocks, as the index eased out of a four-day rally over which it gained more than 4 per cent, while investors also awaited a key US jobs data expected later in the day.

[BENGALURU] Australian shares edged lower on Friday, dragged by healthcare and technology stocks, as the index eased out of a four-day rally over which it gained more than 4 per cent, while investors also awaited a key US jobs data expected later in the day.

Hopes of an economic rebound, amid easing of lockdown restrictions and fresh stimulus, had carried the benchmark stock index to a near three-month high.

Investors on Friday kept to the sidelines ahead of US non-farm payrolls data expected to be released at 1230 GMT, with the country's unemployment rate forecast to rocket to 19.8 per cent, a post-World War Two record, from 14.7 per cent in April.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.3 per cent to 5,975.4 points by 0056 GMT. The index was set to post its sixth straight week of gains. The benchmark rose 0.8 per cent on Thursday.

Healthcare stocks shed 3.2 per cent with heavyweight biotherapeutics firm CSL shedding 3.7 per cent.

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Technology stocks fell 1.9 per cent, with shares of Appen, down 3.9 per cent and Altium losing 3.2 per cent.

Shares of the buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay fell 2.4 per cent but remained above the A$50 mark.

Gold stocks extended their fall into a fourth straight session with a 0.5 per cent decline, led by Tribune Resources, down 7.4 per cent, followed by Evolution Mining, losing 1.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, financial stocks continued an upward march and rose 0.9 per cent, with Bank of Queensland and Janus Henderson Group PLC, gaining 3.3 per cent and 3.3 per cent, respectively.

The sub-index is on track to post a weekly gain of more than 6 per cent.

Across the Tasman sea, the New Zealand benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.2 per cent to 11,201.4.

The top percentage losers on the were Gentrack Group, down 6.5 per cent, followed by Pushpay Holdings, losing 3.6 per cent.

REUTERS

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