Australian shares end lower as healthcare, commodity stocks drag

Australian shares end lower as healthcare, commodity stocks drag

Healthcare stocks down after CSL faces setback in drug trial

U.S. January inflation data in focus

ANZ Group Holdings surges on interim results

JB Hi-Fi top gainer on the benchmark

Updates to close

By Sherin Sunny

Feb 12 (Reuters)Australian shares snapped a three-session winning streak on Monday, dragged by healthcare and commodity stocks, as local investors await U.S. inflation numbers for cues on interest rates.

The S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO closed 0.4% lower at 7,614.9 points. The benchmark fell 0.7% for the previous week.

Globally, market watchers await the January U.S. inflation data due on Tuesday, after the revised consumer price index (CPI)for December indicated easing inflation.

Analysts at ANZ continue to favour November as the starting point of the cycle when the Reserve Bank of Australia may begin cutting interest rates, a move that could be influenced by the inflation print from the U.S.

Back In Sydney, healthcare stocks .AXHJ dropped 3.2%, marking their worst day since mid-October, 2023, after bio-tech major CSL CSL.AX announced a setback in a cardiovascular drug trial alongside results. The priciest stock in the benchmark ended down 4.8%.

The energy sub-index .AXEJ closed 1% lower, hitting its lowest level since Jan. 24, amid falling oil prices. O/R

Sector major Woodside WDS.AX fell 2.2%, while Santos STO.AX ended the day 0.3% higher.

Heayweight miners .AXMM also fell 0.6%,with mining giants BHP Group BHP.AX and Rio Tinto RIO.AX falling 0.5%and 0.7%,respectively.

Bucking the trend, financial stocks .AXFJ closed 0.1% higher.

ANZ Group ANZ.AX gained as much as 1.6%, reaching its highest level since January 2022, after the lender reported its first-quarter group revenue in line with the quarterly average of its first-half fiscal 2023 revenue.

Tech majors Xero XRO.AX and Wisetech Global WTC.AX rose as much as 2% and 1.8%, respectively with the broader tech sub-index .AXIJ ending 1%higher.

Shares of JB Hi-Fi JBH.AX climbed as much as 7.5% to their highest level and emerging as the top gainer on the benchmark, after it beat market estimates for interim results.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index .NZ50 ended 0.9% lower at 11,757.97 points. The benchmark fell to its lowest since Jan. 24.

Reporting by Sherin Sunny in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil

For more information on DIARIES & DATA: U.S. earnings diary RESF/US Wall Street Week Ahead .N/O Global Economy Week Ahead DATA/ ................................................................ For latest top breaking news across all markets NEWS1

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