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Australian shares rebound, banks and health care support; NZ down

[BENGALURU] Australian shares bounced back on Thursday, in line with broader Asia, with banks and healthcare stocks leading the gains.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.9 per cent or 52.70 points to 6,268.30 at the close of trade.

The benchmark had dipped 0.8 per cent on Wednesday, after Washington's threat to impose tariffs on a further US$200 billion of Chinese imports rang alarm bells across financial markets.

China has accused the United States of bullying and warned it could hit back, although it was unclear how it would retaliate.

"The news of extra tariffs dominated the global markets... and clearly our markets priced it in," said James McGlew, Executive director of corporate stockbroking at Argonaut.

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Banks accounted for nearly half the gains on the benchmark, with the financial index climbing 1.4 per cent.

The country's "big four banks" rose between 1.6-2.2 per cent and were among the biggest contributors to the main index.

Healthcare stocks also underpinned the market, strengthening 2.3 per cent to a record high. Index heavyweight CSL Ltd firmed 2.6 per cent to its highest ever level.

Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slipped 0.2 per cent or 15.92 points to finish at a more than a one-week low of 8,985.47.

Dairy firm a2 Milk Company Ltd led the slide, falling 3.5 after it said its annual revenue had jumped nearly 70 per cent, but flagged higher costs in the year ahead as it ramps up its business in the dairy-hungry markets of China.


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