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
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)