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Australia: Shares tick up on gold stocks; NZ at record high

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The S&P/ASX 200 index ended up 0.1 per cent at 6,794.20, after a 0.5 per cent fall in the previous session.

[SYDNEY] Gold and healthcare stocks helped Australian shares eke out small gains on Tuesday in thin pre-Christmas trade, while New Zealand equities closed at an all-time high.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended up 0.1 per cent at 6,794.20, after a 0.5 per cent fall in the previous session. Volumes were about a third of the 30-day average, with 201.7 million shares changing hands.

Australia and New Zealand markets closed early on Tuesday and will remain shut for the next two days for Christmas and Boxing Day.

Gold miners were the top performers on the ASX benchmark, with the sub-index jumping 2.7 per cent to its highest close in more than two weeks on firm bullion prices.

Gold Road Resources Ltd advanced 7.7 per cent and Resolute Mining Ltd added 5.9 per cent.

The healthcare index climbed 1 per cent, with drugmaker CSL Ltd, Australia's fourth-largest firm by market value, gaining 1.3 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose for the sixth consecutive session, adding 0.8 per cent, or 95.55 points, to settle at 11,642.78.

REUTERS