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Australian shares on Thursday extended losses for a fourth session, with healthcare and energy firms weighing the most, as growing US inflationary risks stoked concerns of an earlier-than-expected policy normalisation by the Federal Reserve.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.6% at 7,379.00, as of 0052 GMT.

All three major US stock indexes ended in negative territory overnight, extending their losses and adding to Tuesday's sell-off as surging consumer prices raised worries of a protracted wave of red hot inflation.

Aussie healthcare stocks were the top percentage losers in the benchmark, declining up to 1.6% to mark their worst session since mid-October.

Biotech firm CSL Ltd declined more than a percent while hospital operator Ramsay Health Care lost 7.3% after it recorded a drop in its first-quarter earnings.

Energy sector fell as much as 2.4%, extending losses for a third straight session, with index heavyweights Woodside Petroleum and Santos shedding more than 3% each.

Oil prices slumped overnight, hit by a surge in the dollar after US President Joe Biden said his administration was looking for ways to reduce energy costs amid a broader acceleration in inflation.

Local tech stocks were also among the top drags, losing up to 1.7%, with buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay Ltd and accounting software maker Xero Ltd shedding 1.7% and 4.4%, respectively.

Among gainers, heavyweight miners advanced 1.2%, recovering from a near 2% drop in the previous session. Global miners BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group gained between 1% and 3.5%.

Australian gold stocks rose 2.3% as surging US inflation burnished bullion's appeal as an inflation hedge, sending prices to a five-month high on Wednesday.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index added 0.2% to 13,044.02.

Elsewhere, S&P 500 E-minis futures were mostly flat, while Japan's Nikkei was down 0.19% at 29,051.58.

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