Australia shares end flat as energy stocks weigh; Treasury Wine shines

Australia shares end flat as energy stocks weigh; Treasury Wine shines

Australian shares ended a volatile session flat, with lacklustre annual results from Woodside Petroleum dragging energy stocks lower, while Treasury Wine notched its best day in five years after the company unveiled plans to overhaul its business.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended flat at 6,885.9 points on Thursday. The benchmark closed 0.5 per cent lower on Wednesday.

“It (the market) is directionless right now,” said Brad Smoling, managing director at Smoling Stockbroking.

“We don’t have any sort of negative or positive lead to follow and no one wants to take a position in a big way until we see some sort of marcoeconomic change, or have a disaster in reporting, which we haven’t had yet.”

Energy stocks shed 1.5 per cent, with Woodside slumping 2.4 per cent after its annual profit more than halved.

Shares of fuel supplier Viva Energy fell 2.5 per cent and power company Origin Energy dropped 2.2 per cent after its first-half profit was nearly wiped out.

Treasury Wine Estates, which extended gains to a second session, climbed 17.5 per cent to mark its best day in more than five years after the world’s largest listed winemaker said on Wednesday that it would reorganise into three internal divisions and likely sell low-priority brands and other assets.

Healthcare stocks hit their highest in nearly two months, helped by sector heavyweight CSL, which advanced 2.8 per cent after a jump in half-year profit.

Financials gained 0.3 per cent, as Australia and New Zealand Banking Group reported a higher first-quarter profit and said it was well-positioned for the rest of the year.

Peer Westpac gained 3.5 per cent to hit its highest in nearly a year.

Miners closed 0.2 per cent weaker, with BHP Ltd ending in negative territory.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.32 per cent lower to finish at 12,633.6 points.

Six of the nine major sectors on the bourse closed in the red, with Air New Zealand being the top loser in the index.

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