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Australia shares off record peak as focus shifts to U.S. data

* U.S. CPI and ECB meeting on Thursday in focus

* Tech stocks biggest gainers on Australian benchmark

* Rio Tinto, BHP, Fortescue close in the red

* SkyCity’s NZ shares close at 1-1/2-month low (Updates to close)

June 8 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Tuesday, underpinned by technology and healthcare stocks, although the benchmark index retreated from a record peak scaled earlier in the session as investors awaited U.S. economic data due this week to gauge inflationary pressure.

The S&P/ASX 200, which rose 0.5% in early trade, closed firmer at 7,292.6. The benchmark ended 0.2% lower on Monday.

Tracking an overnight climb in the tech-heavy Nasdaq , Australian technology stocks closed 1.5% higher and were the top gainers in the benchmark.

Buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay closed 0.9% higher, while EML Payments ended at its higehst in more than three weeks.

Healthcare stocks also advanced, with sector heavyweight CSL Ltd adding 0.9%.

However, the broader market took cues from a largely languid overnight session on Wall Street, as investors awaited key inflation data from the United States this week before making further bets.

“The expectation remains that higher interest rates or inflationary pressures aren’t necessarily on the immediate horizon, but we are seeing a bit of ‘wait and see’ mode at the moment,” CommSec market analyst James Tao said.

Miners were the biggest drag in the benchmark as iron ore prices tumbled overnight after China’s subdued trade data for May and doubts over demand for the steelmaking ingredient.

Mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP closed down 0.9% and 1%, respectively, while Fortescue Metals ended at a 1-1/2-week low.

Meanwhile, shares of Nuix dropped 1.8% after local media reported that Australia’s financial services regulator sent notices to the Macquarie-backed software provider and Macquarie relating to a regulatory probe.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50, trading after an extended weekend break, closed 0.2% higher at 12,517.65.

Casino operator SkyCity Entertainment lost 5.7% to close at its lowest in 1-1/2 months, following reports that Australia’s financial crimes regulator would probe the company’s Adelaide operations. (Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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