July 28 (Reuters) - Australian shares gave up early gains to
close lower on Tuesday as a rise in coronavirus cases stoked
concerns of a stricter lockdown, while data showed employment
was hit due to restrictions placed earlier.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.39% to 6,020.50 points
at the close of trade.
The state of Victoria reported six deaths and 384 new cases
in the last 24 hours, a day after posting a record surge in
cases that prompted authorities to warn of an extension to the
six-week lockdown already in place.
The economic pain of the lockdown was already evident as
data on Tuesday showed the country's employment fell 1.1%
between mid-June and mid-July.
"The choppiness we've been seeing in price action might be a
reflection of the uncertainty as to whether lockdowns will be
tightened, especially in Victoria and New South Wales," said
Kyle Rodda, an analyst with IG Markets.
"Especially if you look at the Victoria situation, it's
looking like we're staring down the barrel now with the extended
lockdown, which will be a drag on growth."
The energy subindex lost over 1%, with Santos Ltd
and Worley Ltd down 1.5% and 3.3%,
Gold stocks also fell 1%, with Northern Star
and Ramelius Resources declining 1.2% and
Mining stocks rose, helped by robust iron ore
prices. Global miner Rio Tinto and BHP Group
advanced 1.2% and 1.9%, respectively.
Rio Tinto Ltd on Tuesday indicated the potential
for a major new copper and gold mine in Western Australia after
it discovered gold-rich deposits at its Winu project in the
Property manager Waypoint REIT was among the top
losers on the benchmark after its largest shareholder sold its
stake in the company.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended 0.6%
lower to finish the session at 11,578.2.
(Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru;
Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)