Australian Shares Pare Early Gains to Finish Flat, Ramsay Surges 24%

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Australian Shares Pare Early Gains to Finish Flat, Ramsay Surges 24%

By Oliver Gray - The S&P/ASX 200 ended Wednesday’s session just 4 points higher at 7,569.2 as gains among Health Care and Consumer Discretionary were weighed by losses in Materials and Energy .

Among stocks, health companies rallied as Ramsay Health Care Ltd (ASX: RHC ) popped 24.2% following news of a $20 billion takeover bid from global private equity giant KKR & Co LP (NYSE: KKR ). CSL Ltd (ASX: CSL ) added 0.8%, Sonic Healthcare Ltd (ASX: SHL ) gained 2.5% and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Ltd (ASX: FPH ) lifted 2.5%.

Consumer Discretionary also finished 1.1% higher, with JB Hi-Fi Ltd (ASX: JBH ) up 1.2%, Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES ) adding 1.7% and Aristocrat Leisure Ltd (ASX: ALL ) up 0.6%.

Meantime, major miners suffered following a disappointing quarterly update from Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX: RIO ). BHP Billiton Ltd (ASX: BHP ) fell 1.6%, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX: FMG ) lost 0.2%, Champion Iron Ltd (ASX: CIA ) dipped 2.7% while Arizona Lithium Ltd (ASX: AZL ) lost 5.1% and Lake Resources NL (ASX: LKE ) dropped 3.9%.

Oil related companies also retreated as Woodside Petroleum Ltd (ASX: WPL ) lost 0.7%, Santos Ltd (ASX: STO ) fell 1.1% and Beach Energy Ltd (ASX: BPT ) shed 0.3%.

On the bond markets, Australia 10-Year rates were at fresh 7-year highs of 3.106% while United States 10-Year yields were at fresh 40-month highs of 2.94%.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 added 1.1% to 11,966.

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