April 21 (Reuters) - Australian stocks fell a percent on
Wednesday, extending losses into a second straight session, as
travel stocks dropped after a new COVID-19 case in New Zealand
sparked worries of a pause in the trans-Tasman quarantine-free
The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.7% to 6,968.1 by
0030 GMT. It fell as much as 1% to mark its worst intraday drop
in about five weeks.
A new case of the novel coronavirus detected at Auckland
airport comes just a day after the country opened a travel
bubble with Australia.
That pulled down ASX-listed travel stocks, with Qantas
Airways falling 2.8% and Sydney Airport Holdings
slipping 1.3%. Flight Centre Travel and
Helloworld Travel shed about 2% and 1.5%, respectively.
In other markets, Japan's Nikkei dropped 1.56% to
28,631.87. The S&P 500 E-minis futures were down 0.13%,
while all three major U.S. indexes closed lower overnight.
In Australia, the top percentage gainers on the benchmark
were Corporate Travel Management, up 4.52%, followed by
IDP Education, gaining 2.92%, and Hub24, up
Heavyweight miners fell 1.5%. Lithium miners Galaxy
Resources and Orocobre were the biggest losers
on the index, falling nearly 6% each.
Iron ore giant BHP Group fell more than 2% after it
reported a slight drop in its third-quarter output. However, it
expects iron ore production at the upper end of its forecast
range for full-year.
Energy index fell 2.1%, led by Beach Energy
, down 2.8% and Ampol, losing 1.3%. Oil prices
dropped from their one-month highs on fears that world's
third-biggest oil importer India may impose new restrictions.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell
0.4% to 12,628.8.
The top percentage losers on the benchmark are Auckland
International Airport, down 2%, followed by Australia
and New Zealand Banking Group, losing 1.7%, and
Meridian Energy, down 1.6%.
(Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; editing by