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Australian shares slide as tech stocks, Omicron worries weigh

01/09/2022 | 07:24pm EDT

Jan 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Monday as technology stocks tracked a weak finish on Wall Street in the previous session, with surging cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus denting sentiment further.

The benchmark ASX 200 index declined 0.4% to 7,421.3 points by 2313 GMT.

Fears of a sooner-than-expected interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve dragged Wall Street on Friday, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq index dropped nearly 1%. Local technology stocks mirrored the index's move on Monday.

The tech sub-index shed 1.8% to hit its lowest level since June last year, dragged by Zip Co Ltd and EML Payments Ltd, losing about 3.4% and 1.6%, respectively.

Meanwhile, authorities in the country reinstated some restrictions to battle a record spike in COVID-19 infections, with an official modelling indicating that the Omicron outbreak in New South Wales could peak by January-end.

Among individual shares and sectors, the "Big Four" banks fell between 0.3% and 0.9%, while the broader financial sub-index fell 0.7%.

Gold stocks followed suit, dropping 0.3%, with gold miner Northern Star Resources Ltd declining 0.6%.

The energy sub-index, however, shrugged off weaker oil prices to add 0.7%.

Whitehaven Coal Ltd declined 1.3% to be one of the biggest pct losers on the sub-index.

Miners also rose 1.5% on stronger iron ore and metal prices, with global iron ore miners Rio Tinto and BHP Group up 2.8% and 1.9%.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.6% to 12,899.5 points.

Media firm SKY Network Television Ltd fell 2.8% to a near four-week low and headed for its fourth straight day of losses.

Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.03%, while the S&P 500 E-minis futures slipped 0.3%. (Reporting by Yamini C S; editing by Uttaresh.V)

© Reuters 2022
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BHP GROUP LIMITED 2.46% 43.67 Delayed Quote.5.23%
EML PAYMENTS LIMITED 3.51% 1.475 Delayed Quote.-54.33%
NASDAQ COMP. 3.33% 12131.13 Real-time Quote.-22.46%
NIKKEI 225 0.66% 26781.68 Real-time Quote.-6.98%
NORTHERN STAR RESOURCES LIMITED -0.91% 8.72 Delayed Quote.-7.33%
RIO TINTO PLC 1.47% 5714 Delayed Quote.16.56%
S&P 500 2.47% 4158.24 Real-time Quote.-12.76%
S&P/ASX 200 1.08% 7182.7 Real-time Quote.-3.52%
SKY NETWORK TELEVISION LIMITED 1.62% 2.51 End-of-day quote.-7.04%
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION 0.79% 24.09 Delayed Quote.12.83%
WHITEHAVEN COAL LIMITED 1.98% 5.14 Delayed Quote.96.93%
ZIP CO LIMITED 0.59% 0.855 Delayed Quote.-80.25%
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