Dec 6 (Reuters) - Australian shares were nearly flat on
Monday, as treasurer Josh Frydenberg saying that the country
would raise its 2022 economic growth forecast offset worries
about the Omicron coronavirus variant.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.02% by 1148 GMT.
The benchmark had gained 0.2% on Friday.
Frydenberg said on Sunday that Australia would raise its
2022 economic growth forecast at the mid-year budget review,
adding that it was too early to estimate the impact from
The Omicron variant spread in Australia on Saturday, with a
cluster in Sydney growing to 13 cases and a suspected infection
in the state of Queensland, leading some state and territory
governments to tighten their domestic border controls.
Shares of biopharma giant CSL Ltd were the top
losers on the benchmark after a court ruling https://www.afr.com/companies/healthcare-and-fitness/csl-loses-challenge-to-us-plasma-supplies-20211206-p59f3p
that prevents people from crossing the border from Mexico to
give blood, its main business.
On the other hand, grocery firm Metcash gained over
5% after reporting a 13% jump in half-year profit.
Building materials maker Boral also gained 2.8%,
after selling its North American fly ash business for $755
Energy stocks rose 0.64%, led by Whitehaven Coal Ltd
, up 2.66%, followed by Woodside Petroleum Ltd,
The sub-index was tracking Friday's jump in oil prices after
producer group OPEC+ said it could review its policy to hike
output at short notice if a rising number of pandemic lockdowns
chokes off demand.
Technology stocks fell 1.19% led by Afterpay Ltd
, down 3.92%, followed by Nearmap Ltd, losing
Financial stocks fell 0.14%, while gold stocks
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell
0.4% to 12,625.57. The top decliners were Genesis Energy Ltd
, down 2.11%, followed by Vector Ltd, losing
(Reporting by Arundhati Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi