July 28 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended lower on
Wednesday as the country's most populous city of Sydney extended
a coronavirus lockdown by another four weeks.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.7% to 7,379.3 at the
end of trade, its lowest close since July 21.
Sydney, a city of 5 million people, on Wednesday told
residents to stay at home until August 28 as it fights a
flare-up of the virulent Delta coronavirus variant.
The worsening outbreak could lead to Australia's central
bank delaying the tapering of its asset purchases from September
to November, London-based research consultancy Capital Economics
said in a note.
Domestic consumer prices rose at the fastest annual pace in
almost 13 years last quarter, data showed on Wednesday, but a
milder rise in core inflation suggested the spike could be
"We can't see the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) being too
alarmed by this data. They have made it quite clear that they
anticipated a short-lived spike in inflation above the upper
bound of their target," Netherlands' ING Group said in a note to
Tech stocks dropped 2.1% as they tracked peers on
Wall Street, where investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of
results from top firms in the sector and a Federal Reserve
Energy stocks lost 1.4%, with gas explorers Woodside
Petroleum and Santos Ltd falling 2% and 1.4%
Financial stocks were also lower, with the "Big
Four" banks falling in the range of 0.3% and 1.4%.
Bucking the trend, gold stocks rose 0.9% as bullion
prices climbed against a weaker dollar.
Spark Infrastructure was the top gainer on the
benchmark index, adding 5.4%, after a consortium that includes
private equity giant KKR & Co Inc sweetened a buyout
deal for the electricity infrastructure investor.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended flat
(Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru; Editing by