Healthcare, trade hopes pull Australian stocks higher, NZ rises


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* Healthcare stocks at record high

* ANZ falls after trading ex-div

* Miners dip on weak iron ore prices

By Shriya Ramakrishnan

Nov 11 (Reuters) – Australian stocks tracked regional gains on Monday on optimism about U.S.-China trade talks progress, while domestic focus centred on healthcare after a reported broker upgrade on heavyweight CSL lifted the broader sector to record highs.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.4% to 6,751.3 by 0030 GMT. The benchmark ended marginally lower on Friday.

Wall Street’s major indexes posted record closing highs on Friday, as investors largely brushed aside worries about U.S.-China negotiations.

“At the moment, markets want to believe in Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny,” Damian Rooney, director of equity sales at Argonaut, said.

Trump said on Saturday that trade talks with China were moving along “very nicely” but the United States would only make a deal with Beijing if it was the right one for the United States.

“My issue is that I’d love to see real detail on what these talks are, before I rush to buy things,” Rooney added.

In Australia, healthcare stocks surged as much as 2.1%, and were the biggest boost to the benchmark index.

Shares of CSL Ltd, one of the largest firms by market valuation, soared 2.2% to a record-high after UBS upgraded the drugmkaer to “buy”, local media reported, while local shares of Resmed Inc advanced 1.7%.

Financial stocks, the benchmark’s largest component, were on track for a third straight day of gains. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which is due to report first-quarter results on Tuesday, advanced 0.9% while National Australia Bank strengthened 1.1%.

Meanwhile, shares of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group slipped as much as 3.1% to a seven-month low, after the country’s fourth-largest lender traded ex-dividend.

Bucking the trend, the metals and mining index dropped 0.7%, as iron ore futures touched a three-week low on Friday on prospects of tepid steel demand.

Global miner Rio Tinto fell 1.7%, while Fortescue Metals Group, the world’s fourth largest iron ore miner, shed 3.7%.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2% or 25.8 points to 10,902.78.

Sky Network Television rose 3.3% as the company secured broadcasting rights for 2022 and 2026 Commonwealth Games, while Ryman Healthcare gained 2.2%. (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)


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