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Australia stocks end flat as Rio Tinto, CBA offset early gains

  • Rio Tinto shares, the biggest drag on the index, slid as much a 7% as they traded ex-dividend
Published August 12, 2021
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Australian shares ended little changed on Thursday as losses in Commonwealth Bank and Rio Tinto tempered gains driven by robust blue-chip earnings and gold miners.

The S&P/ASX 200 index settled 0.05% higher at 7,588.2, as the benchmark extends a strong rally since April on the back of a post-pandemic economic recovery.

Rio Tinto shares, the biggest drag on the index, slid as much a 7% as they traded ex-dividend.

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Commonwealth Bank of Australia dropped as much as 2.4%, its biggest intraday loss since June 21, a day after it reported annual results and a large share buyback. Analysts had flagged concerns around revenue growth going forward.

Broader financials fell 0.3%, although National Australia Bank Ltd added as much as 1.2% thanks to a jump in its third-quarter cash profit.

Gold stocks rose 0.2%, snapping five sessions of losses, after tame US consumer price data eased fears that the Federal Reserve would taper stimulus sooner than expected.

Index heavyweight Newcrest Mining Ltd and Northern Star Resources led gains, each climbing 0.3%.

Technology stocks were the biggest losers, dropping 1.1%, dragged by a 1.4% dip in buy now, pay later firm Afterpay.

In other stocks, the nation's biggest telecom firm Telstra hit a four-year high after announcing a A$1.35 billion ($994.68 million) share buyback.

Australian wealth manager AMP Ltd posted its best day in two months, rising as much as 2.8%, after annual underlying profit surged 57%.

"At the end of the day, our markets were in results season, so (the move) was very much determined by individual companies," said Henry Jennings, a senior analyst at the Marcustoday Financial Newsletter.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.09% to 12,737.

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