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Australia shares end higher on tech, Wall Street boost

* Tech stocks snap fourth weekly loss, up 6% for the week

* Treasury yields retreat, lifting U.S. tech stocks Australian energy stocks mark worst week since April 23 (Updates to close)

May 21 (Reuters) - Australian shares on Friday flitted in and out of negative territory, but turned positive to end the week higher, with local tech stocks taking cues from an upbeat Wall Street session on signs of a pick-up in U.S. job growth this month.

The benchmark ASX 200 index closed 0.2% higher at 7030.3 points, and delivered a weekly gain of 0.23%.

“We saw a rise in the Nasdaq last night in the U.S. so that’s helping our market today,” Henry Jennings, a senior analyst at Marcustoday Financial Newsletter said.

Wall Street snapped three straight sessions of losses overnight, helped by technology stocks, as the smallest weekly jobless claims since the start of a pandemic-driven recession boosted sentiment.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we reverted the engines next week and saw tech stocks under some pressure and everyone rushing back to commodity stocks again,” he added.

Kogan.com, down nearly 14%, was the worst performer in the benchmark index after the online retailer posted downbeat annual outlook, while EML Payments was the top gainer with a nearly 16% climb.

EML was also top gainer in the tech index, which rose 1.6%.

Banking stocks were flat, although three of the “Big Four” banks were trading in the black. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which lost about 0.5%, weighed in the index.

“I think there’s a little bit of profit-taking in some of the banks and (investors) taking some money off the table before the weekend,” Jennings said.

On the downside, the energy index lost 2% to hit its lowest close in six months, as oil prices were set for their biggest weekly loss since March.

Heavyweights Woodside Petroleum and Santos lost 3.3% and 4.9%, respectively.

Weak iron ore prices prompted the Australian metals and mining index to shed 1.1%, its lowest close since May 3. The index shed about 2% for the week.

BHP Group, Rio Tinto, and Fortescue Metals fell between 1% and 2%.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 index inched 0.2% higher to 12,459.61 points. (Reporting by Yamini C S, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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