Australia shares flat as miners, tech stocks diverge; NZ falls for 6th day

Oct 12 (Reuters) - Australian shares were largely unchanged on Tuesday as gains in heavyweight miners on the back of robust iron ore prices offset a slide in technology and financial stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.05% at 7,303.2 points at 2327 GMT. The benchmark slipped to 0.3% at close on Monday.

Australia’s financial sub-index fell as much as 0.5%, with lender Westpac Banking Corp losing up to 1.2% after flagging a A$1.3 billion ($956 million) profit hit in the second half.

The country’s second-largest lender by market capitalisation said it would take the one-off charge after its institutional banking unit quit energy trading, among other reasons.

The rest of Australia’s ‘Big Four’ banks - National Australia Bank Ltd, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Commonwealth Bank of Australia - were down between 0.4% and 0.6%.

Tech stocks fell for a second straight day, slipping as much as 1.3%, after major Wall Street indices closed lower overnight.

Market darling Afterpay lost the most on the sub-index, falling as much as 2.6% to its lowest levels since Oct 5.

Balancing the slide, Aussie miners climbed 1.6% in their fourth straight session of gains as iron ore prices soared on supply fears.

BHP Group rose as much as 1.4%, while Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals gained up to 1.8% and 1.9%, respectively.

Energy stocks inched 0.5% higher, with Oil Search adding 1.2% as oil prices rallied on surging demand.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell for a sixth consecutive session, losing 0.3%, with cancer diagnostics firm Pacific Edge dipping about 2.1%. ($1 = 1.3611 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)