* Healthcare, Financials weigh on benchmark
* Energy stocks rise on higher oil prices
* CBA to report HY results on Wednesday
Feb 9 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Tuesday, as market participants treaded cautiously in anticipation of the incoming domestic earnings season, despite Macquarie Group and James Hardie both reporting strong quarterly numbers.
Shares in Macquarie Group jumped nearly 8% after the country’s largest investment bank and asset manager posted a sharp rise in third-quarter profit on Tuesday.
Similarly, James Hardie, the world’s biggest fibre cement maker, advanced over 7% to hit a record high after posting a huge rise in quarterly profit.
However, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index edged 0.4% lower to 6,853.00 by 0028 GMT, following a 0.6% gain on Monday, with investors ignoring even Wall Street’s record high overnight.
“The expectation is that we will still see devastation in some sectors (hospitality, travel, etc). The winners will be few and the losers may well grow in number,” said Brad Smoling, managing director at Smoling Stockbroking, said of Australia’s earnings season.
“It will be too hard for some companies to window dress some very poor numbers after this length of time.”
Macquarie Group’s gains were not enough to lift the financial index out of the negative territory. The heavyweight sector slipped as much as 0.4%, with the “Big Four” banks trading lower.
The country’s largest lender, Commonwealth Bank of Australia is set to report half-yearly results on Wednesday.
Healthcare stocks slid to a one-week low, with industry major CSL Ltd shedding about 1% and Mesoblast losing over 3%.
In a bright spot, energy stocks gained as much as 1.3% on the back of improving oil prices.
Woodside Petroleum gained 1.4% while Santos strengthened 2.8% to each hit a high of over two weeks.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.4% to 13,007.29.
Top losers were Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and Serko Ltd, each sliding over 2%. (Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)