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ASX dips 0.2% at close: Gains in healthcare and gold stocks partially offset broader market declines

Australian shares experienced a slight decline on Tuesday, marking the second consecutive session of losses, although gains in healthcare and gold stocks partially offset broader market declines. The S&P/ASX 200 dipped by 0.2%, settling at 7724.2, following a recent record high. While healthcare stocks surged after government approvals, lithium explorers faced challenges due to Albermarle’s fundraising announcement. Meanwhile, Australia’s current account returned to surplus in the December quarter, alleviating recession concerns, while China’s economic growth target for 2024 remained steady at around 5%, posing challenges amid pandemic recovery.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 67 points.

The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 9.5 points.

The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 59 points.

The SPI futures are down 8 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Health Care, up 1 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Consumer Discretionary, down 1.21 per cent.

The best-performing large cap was Newmont Corporation (ASX:NEM), closing 5.46 per cent higher at $51.37. It was followed by shares in Seven Group Holdings (ASX:SVW) and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN).

The worst-performing large cap was IGO (ASX:IGO), closing 5.27 per cent lower at $7.73. It was followed by shares in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has gained 0.17 per cent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost -2.15 per cent.

China’s Shanghai Composite has gained -0.15 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$2,123.50 an ounce.

Iron ore is 2.0 per cent higher at US$117.75 a tonne.

Iron ore futures are pointing to a 0.91 per cent rise.

Light crude is trading $-0.29 lower at US$78.45 a barrel.

One Australian dollar is buying 65.02 US cents.