January 4, 2018 / 6:06 AM / a year ago

Australia shares end flat; NZ reaches another record high

(Updates to close)

Jan 4 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended flat on Thursday after touching a near-10 year intraday high, helped by healthcare and energy stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index finished up 0.1 percent, or 6.7 points, at 6077.1. At one point, it was 0.5 percent ahead to 6,102.2, its highest level since January 2008. On Wednesday, the benchmark rose 0.2 percent.

Australia underperformed Asian shares in general , which scaled a 10-year peak, while oil prices stayed around their highest in over two years.

The three main Wall Street stock indices all hit record closes on Wednesday.

“The Aussie market is very subdued today, hovering around the unchanged level,” said Peter Spanos, volatility risk manager at CMC Markets.

“We haven’t really been influenced by the broader Asian market rally today, or the overnight lead from Wall Street.”

Woodside Petroleum Ltd climbed 2.7 percent to its highest close since August 2015, while biotherapeutics developer CSL Ltd gained 1.5 percent.

Oil Search Ltd was the top gainer on Australia’s main index, up 3.6 percent to its best close in more than two years.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2 percent, or 18.59 points to finish the session at a record high of 8,443.5.

Healthcare stocks and industrials led the gains. Ryman Healthcare Ltd was the best performer on the main index, closing up 2.5 percent to a record high.

Auckland International Airport Ltd rose 1.7 percent and closed at its highest in more than two weeks. (Reporting by Christina Martin in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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