SYDNEY, AAP – Technology shares have boomed by more than two per cent but there was little joy elsewhere on a declining Australian market.

Buy now, pay later provider Afterpay powered the technology gains by gaining 6.6 per cent to $131.02.

The company has made its service available to US customers of Amazon, Dell, Macy’s and other major retailers.

Healthcare shares had the biggest drop on the ASX and lost more than one per cent.

Market giant CSL was lower by 1.5 per cent to $289.71.


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The heavyweight category of financial shares was down 0.74 per cent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was lower by 21.4 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 7277.1 at 1200 AEST on Thursday.

The All Ordinaries was down by nine points, or 0.11 per cent, to 7543.1.

Investors, including those in US markets, have opted for technology shares since the US Federal Reserve last week brought forward estimates of higher rates to 2023.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell earlier this week said the central bank would not raise interest rates too quickly based only on the fear of inflation.

The technology-based Nasdaq was the only US index to prosper earlier on Thursday. The Nasdaq gained 0.13 per cent.

The Dow Jones dropped 0.21 per cent and S&P 500 lost 0.11 per cent.

The next data on US inflation will come at the end of the week and show the May reading.

In Australia, a number of states and territories, as well as New Zealand, have their border closed to people from NSW due to a coronavirus outbreak.

The restrictions are likely to affect travel providers’ sales ahead of school holidays.

On the ASX, Woolworths plunged 12.09 per cent to $37.37 as its demerged bottle shop and hotels business Endeavour Group joins the market.

Endeavour, which includes the BWS and Dan Murphy’s bottle shops, was due to join trading at 1200 AEST.

Westpac has called off the demerger of its New Zealand business and will retain 100 per cent ownership.

Bank boss Peter King said the demerger would not be in shareholders’ best interest.

Shares were down 0.84 per cent to $25.86.

All the big four banks were lower. NAB fared worst and dropped 1.13 per cent to $26.07.

Miners were one of the few bright spots as the price of iron ore remained more than $US200 per tonne.

BHP was up 1.1 per cent to $47.68. Fortescue gained 1.53 per cent to $22.82. Rio Tinto climbed 1.08 per cent to $124.18.

Energy shares were among the biggest losers and declined by 0.88 per cent.

Oil Search and Santos lost about one per cent to $3.81 and $7.22 respectively.

The Australian dollar was buying 75.77 US cents at 1200 AEST, higher from 75.40 US cents at Wednesday’s close.