Australia shares slip on tech, healthcare losses

Feb 22 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed slightly lower on Monday as losses in healthcare and tech stocks outweighed gains in miners, while Macquarie Group jumped after raising its profit guidance.

The S&P/ASX 200 index (.AXJO) closed 0.19% lower at 6,780.9, extending a slide from last week, as investors waited for the likes of Oil Search (OSH.AX), WoolworthsGroup (WOW.AX), Qantas Airways (QAN.AX) and Lynas Rare Earths (LYC.AX) to report their earnings results later this week.

Shares of exports-reliant healthcare companies (.AXHJ) fell 2.2% as the Australian dollar hit its highest since early 2018 against the U.S. dollar.

A stronger local currency hits earnings of companies earning in U.S. dollars.

Heavyweight drug developer CSL Ltd (CSL.AX) and medical device maker Resmed Inc lost 2.4% and 2.2%, respectively.

Tech stocks (.AXIJ) fell 1.7%, with telecom co Telstra Corp (TLS.AX) and real estate website operator REA Group (REA.AX) declining 1.5% and 2%, respectively.

Mining stocks (.AXMM) rose 3.3% as copper prices soared to levels unseen in nearly a decade on demand optimism and a weaker U.S. dollar.

BHP Group (BHP.AX) and Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) advanced 3.3% and 3.6%, respectively, while OZ Minerals (OZL.AX) jumped 7%.

Gold stocks (.AXGD) soared 2% as bullion prices rose on a weaker greenback.

Gold explorers De Grey Mining (DEG.AX) and Emerald Resources (EMR.AX) jumped 10.1% and 8.2%, respectively.

Macquarie Group Ltd (MQG.AX) rose 3.4% after the company said it expected its full-year profit to jump due to demand for heating caused by extreme weather in North America. read more

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index (.NZ50) fell 1% to 12,426.2, weighed down by losses in healthcare and utility stocks.

Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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