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Australian shares fall from 5-month high as tech losses weigh

01/04/2022 | 07:18pm EDT

Jan 5 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Wednesday, after hitting a near five-month high during the session, as weakness in technology stocks overshadowed gains from financial and mining sectors.

The S&P/ASX 200 index, which rose as much as 0.4%, was down 0.1 at 7580.6 by 0007 GMT. The benchmark had settled 2% higher on Tuesday, the strongest closing level since mid-August.

The technology sub-index tracked overnight losses on the Nasdaq and fell as much as 2.3%, their biggest single-day loss since mid-December.

Buy now, pay later giant Afterpay dropped as much as 4.9% to hit its lowest since October 2020. EML Payments and Altium were down 1.5% and 1.8%, respectively.

Financials rose as much as 0.9% to hit their highest since Nov. 17, driven by the so-called "Big Four" banks.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corp added between 0.5% and 0.9%, while Macquarie Group rose as much as 2.5% to hit a record high.

Miners advanced as much as 0.9%, scaling their highest since August last year, as iron ore prices rose on improved demand prospects in top steel producer China.

Rio Tinto and BHP Group added 0.4% and 0.7%, respectively, while Sims Ltd jumped 3.3%.

Healthcare stocks fell 1.2%, with biotechnology giant CSL Ltd falling 0.8%.

Coal stocks extended gains, as China's thermal coal futures surged on concerns of supply disruptions after Indonesia, its biggest overseas supplier, banned exports.

Whitehaven Coal and Yancoal Australia rose 1.1% and 1.8%, respectively.

Meanwhile, Australia reported 47,799 new infections on Tueday, up nearly a third from Monday's number which was also a record.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index, which rose as much as 0.7% to hit its highest since Oct. 26, 2021, pared gains to trade 0.3% higher.

Financials and healthcare stocks were the gainers on the bourse.

(Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

© Reuters 2022
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AFTERPAY -2.18% 66.47 End-of-day quote.-19.93%
ALTIUM LIMITED -2.39% 28.18 Delayed Quote.-36.11%
BHP GROUP LIMITED -0.06% 47.8 Delayed Quote.15.25%
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA 0.56% 105.09 Delayed Quote.3.47%
CSL LIMITED 0.37% 274.15 Delayed Quote.-6.04%
EML PAYMENTS LIMITED -2.72% 1.43 Delayed Quote.-54.49%
MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED -0.59% 178.81 Delayed Quote.-12.42%
NASDAQ COMP. 1.59% 11535.27 Real-time Quote.-26.27%
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED 1.01% 31.09 Delayed Quote.6.73%
RIO TINTO PLC -0.60% 5528.87 Delayed Quote.13.70%
S&P/ASX 200 -0.28% 7128.8 Real-time Quote.-3.97%
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION 0.56% 23.54 Delayed Quote.9.65%
WHITEHAVEN COAL LIMITED 0.97% 5.2 Delayed Quote.97.32%
YANCOAL AUSTRALIA LTD 2.40% 5.97 Delayed Quote.124.23%
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