June 5, 2020 / 1:34 AM / 2 months ago

Australian shares set to snap 4-day rally; U.S. jobs data awaited

June 5 (Reuters) - Australian shares edged lower on Friday, dragged by healthcare and technology stocks, as the index eased out of a four-day rally over which it gained more than 4%, while investors also awaited a key U.S. jobs data expected later in the day.

Hopes of an economic rebound, amid easing of lockdown restrictions and fresh stimulus, had carried the benchmark stock index to a near three-month high.

Investors on Friday kept to the sidelines ahead of U.S. nonfarm payrolls data expected to be released at 1230 GMT, with the country’s unemployment rate forecast to rocket to 19.8%, a post-World War Two record, from 14.7% in April.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.3% to 5,975.4 points by 0056 GMT. The index was set to post its sixth straight week of gains. The benchmark rose 0.8% on Thursday.

Healthcare stocks shed 3.2% with heavyweight biotherapeutics firm CSL Ltd shedding 3.7%.

Technology stocks fell 1.9%, with shares of Appen Ltd, down 3.9% and Altium Ltd losing 3.2%.

Shares of the buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay Ltd fell 2.4% but remained above the A$50 mark.

Gold stocks extended their fall into a fourth straight session with a 0.5% decline, led by Tribune Resources Ltd , down 7.4%, followed by Evolution Mining Ltd, losing 1.6%.

Meanwhile, financial stocks continued an upward march and rose 0.92%, with Bank of Queensland Ltd and Janus Henderson Group PLC, gaining 3.3% and 3.3%, respectively.

The sub-index is on track to post a weekly gain of more than 6%.

Across the Tasman sea, the New Zealand benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.2% to 11,201.4.

The top percentage losers on the were Gentrack Group Ltd, down 6.5%, followed by Pushpay Holdings Ltd , losing 3.6%.

Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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