July 15 (Reuters) - Australian shares edged lower on
Thursday as "buy now, pay later" stocks, including Afterpay
, extended their fall to a second day on report of
technology giant Apple Inc entering the sector.
The S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 0.1% to 7347.8 points
by 0053 GMT. The benchmark ended 0.3% higher on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.4% and S&P 500
E-minis futures were down 0.1%.
Technology stocks fell as much as 1.6%, with aerial
imagery firm Nearmap Ltd and software firm Nuix Ltd
dropping 2.9% and 2%, respectively.
"Buy now, pay later" firm Afterpay Ltd dropped 3.7%
and Zip Co Ltd fell as much as 4%, a day after a report
said Apple could be set to enter the space.
Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd fell as much as
1.9% after it rejected a A$22.26 billion ($16.6 billion)
takeover proposal from a group of infrastructure
Authorities are rushing to track close contacts of several
positive COVID-19 cases in Victoria linked to Sydney's Delta
variant outbreak amid concerns of a major flare-up in infections
and further tough restrictions.
Miners, meanwhile, added 0.6% and were on track to record a
fourth consecutive session of gains. Rio Tinto Ltd rose
0.4% ahead of its quarterly production report on Friday.
Gold miners gained on the back of higher bullion
prices, with Newcrest Mining adding 0.7%.
Shares of Australia's top independent gas producer Woodside
Petroleum dropped 1.7%.
Woodside reported a 67% increase in sales revenue for the
second quarter, helped by higher realised prices for natural gas
and oil as global demand recovers.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was flat at
12,715.73, a day after the country's central bank announced a
halt to its pandemic-induced quantitative easing programme.
(Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; editing by Vinay