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Australia shares dip as Europe COVID-19 woes spark recovery fears

11/22/2021 | 12:43am EST

Nov 22 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Monday as a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Europe prompted fresh lockdowns and painted a bleak picture of post-coronavirus recovery for the global economy.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.59% lower at 7,353.1 after two straight sessions of gains.

Argonaut's director of equity sales, Damian Rooney, said the market was down because of "a poor lead out of the U.S. on Friday night and the weekend news, particularly on the situation in Europe."

Travel stocks were among the top losers, with three of the top 10 decliners on the benchmark index belonging to the sector. Travel management firms Flight Centre Travel Group and Corporate Travel Management, and carrier Qantas fell between 4% and 7.1%.

Banking stocks closed 1.4% lower after hitting their weakest level since Aug. 2. The so-called "Big Four" banks lost between 1.2% and 2.1%.

Rooney attributed the sell-off to last week's brokerage downgrades in the sector after Commonwealth Bank of Australia became the third lender among the top four to flag margin pressures, and the weaker Australian dollar.

Energy stocks dropped 1.6%, hitting their lowest in nearly a month as oil prices slid to a seven-week low.

Miners rose 0.5%, offering some support to the benchmark index. Iron ore prices jumped 4%, sending sector heavyweights BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue up between 0.4% and 2.1%.

Vulcan Energy climbed 7.1% to become the second-highest gainer on the index after it signed its second supply agreement with Renault SA for battery-grade lithium chemicals.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 ended 1.04% lower at 12,607.64, with Meridian Energy hitting a more than 16-month low on selling its Australian unit. (Reporting by Harshita Swaminathan; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BHP GROUP -0.36% 46.68 Delayed Quote.12.48%
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA -1.24% 100.85 Delayed Quote.-0.15%
CORPORATE TRAVEL MANAGEMENT LIMITED -2.24% 21.81 Delayed Quote.-0.91%
FLIGHT CENTRE TRAVEL GROUP LIMITED -4.58% 17.3 Delayed Quote.-1.82%
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED -0.14% 21.37 Delayed Quote.11.24%
MERIDIAN ENERGY LIMITED 0.00% 4.77 End-of-day quote.-1.65%
QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED 0.20% 5 Delayed Quote.-0.20%
RENAULT -1.00% 33.545 Real-time Quote.9.82%
VULCAN ENERGY RESOURCES LIMITED 0.40% 10.01 Delayed Quote.-3.75%
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