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Finance: Australian share market edges higher despite tech stock drop; Xero, Cochlear, CSL, Pro Medicus, Orica, NAB


The Australian share market edged higher on Thursday as heavy losses in tech and energy stocks were offset by gains in health stocks.

The S & P/ASX200 edged up by 0.3 per cent to close at 7,014.9 points. The All Ords also climbed 0.2 per cent to 7,215.1 points.

The Australian dollar is buying US64.16c, up 0.1 per cent.

Results on Wall St were mixed overnight. While the Dow Jones fell 0.1 per cent, the S & P500 added 0.1 per cent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq similarly was up 0.1 per cent

On the local benchmark nine of the 11 industry sectors finished in the green, with health stocks the strongest performer, up 1 per cent.

Sector heavyweight Cochlear advanced 0.6 per cent to $253.90, CSL added 1.8 per cent to $252.30, and Pro Medicus added 0.5 per cent.

Tech stocks were the weakest performer, plunging 4.8 per cent. Sector giant Xero fell 12.4 per cent to $100.47 a share.

The sell off in global oil prices continued with Brent crude now trading at $US80.15 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate is trading at $75.86. Woodside dropped 1.8 per cent to $32.76, Nexgen lost 1 per cent to $9.00 and Santos fell 0.4 per cent to $7.30.

A fresh read out on Chinese CPI added to the woes of world’s second largest economy, with the country now slipping back into deflation, as prices growth fell 0.2 per cent.

Josh Gilbert, analyst at eToro said the latest inflation print showed China’s economic recovery had hit “another hurdle”.

“The recent stimulus measures being rolled out are a step in the right direction but are clearly not doing enough to lift demand, giving policymakers another headache,” Mr Gilbert said.

In company news, chemicals and explosives manufacturer Orica rallied 2.8 per cent to $15.48 after announcing a 500 per cent increase in net profits in fiscal 2023.

National Australia Bank, the country’s second largest retail bank fell 0.8 per cent to

$28.94 despite the lender posting a $7.7 billion cash profit for the 2023 financial year and upped its final dividend.

The lender pointed to a “more challenging environment” in the near-future, meaning traders were increasingly wary of the results.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.