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Australasia, News

Australia shares poised to wrap up fourth week of gains on muted note

April 16 (Reuters) – Australian shares struggled for direction on Friday, a day after marking their highest close in nearly 14 months, as gains in mining and gold stocks countered losses in energy names.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.07% to 7,054 in early trade, but was on track to post its fourth straight weekly gain.

Energy stocks were the biggest drag on the benchmark index, down 0.84​%, despite crude oil scaling fresh four-week highs on improving demand outlook.

Origin Energy Ltd led losses on the sub-index with a drop of 2.98%, after cutting its annual profit guidance for its energy markets division.

Gold stocks rose 3.7%, capping losses on the benchmark index. Silver Lake Resources Ltd jumped 5.6%, followed by Red 5 Ltd, up 5.41​%.

Overnight, bullion prices scaled a more than one-month peak as U.S. Treasury yields slipped.

Australian miners rose as much as 0.7% after iron ore prices recovered from losses on strong demand in the previous session.

Tech stocks climbed 0.7%, led by a 5.2% jump in Altium Ltd and 2.3% gain in Appen, after a tech-led Wall Street rally that was fuelled by falling bond yields and strong March U.S. retail sales.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.38% to 12,684.6. Napier Port led the gains, climbing as much as 2.3%, as it raised its outlook on bright market conditions. (Reporting by Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)


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