Australian shares inched higher on Wednesday to their highest close in 8-1/2 months, as tech and healthcare stocks outweighed losses in resources sectors, while investors reassessed China demand prospects after Beijing posted weak economic growth data.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.1% higher at 7,393.4, its highest close since April 29 last year. The index has risen in nine out of 12 sessions so far this year.
Chinese data showed the world’s second-biggest economy grew 2.9% in the last quarter, beating expectations but underscoring the toll exacted by Beijing’s stringent “zero-COVID” policy. The growth was slower than the third quarter’s 3.9% pace but above market expectations of a 1.8% gain.
“Tuesday’s lacklustre GDP print from China is urging market participants in the mining and materials sectors to reassess their optimism about China’s recovery story,” said Hebe Chen, a market analyst with IG Australia.
“Meanwhile, cautious sentiment also stems from anticipation that more disappointing U.S. earnings could be on the way.”
Technology stocks were among the top gainers for the day, rising about 1.7%. Accounting software provider Xero and ASX-listed shares of Block Inc firmed 2.5% and 4.6%, respectively.
Australia shares end marginally lower as commodities drag
Healthcare stocks were bolstered by a stronger dollar worldwide, rising 0.9%. CSL Ltd advanced 0.8%.
On the flip side, gold stocks were the biggest losers for the day, shedding more than 1.6%, as the metal lost...
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