Shares edge lower early, health stocks hit

Shares on the Australian market have slipped in early trade after Wall Street ended its four-day run of gains.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was down 18.7 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 5973.1 points after the first 15 minutes of trade on Friday.

The All Ordinaries index was 19.7 points, or 0.32 per cent higher, at 6092.3.

Health shares had a terrible start, down 2.63 per cent. Technology shares were next worst, lower by 1.62 per cent.

But financials was the best performing sector, up 0.75 per cent.

In the US overnight, a report showed that the number of workers filing for unemployment benefits eased for a ninth straight week, roughly in line with the market’s expectations.

Yet economists saw pockets of disappointment after the total number of people getting benefits rose slightly. 

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite ended slightly lower, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1 per cent.

One Australian dollar was buying 69.42 US cents at 1015 AEST, up from 68.90 US cents at the close of trade on Thursday.

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