Dec 2 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell at open on
Thursday, as concerns over the new Omicron coronavirus variant
kept investors jittery, while Afterpay fell over 5% after
postponing meeting to vote on its $29 billion deal with Jack
Dorsey-led Square Inc.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.54% to 7,197.1 by 2354
GMT, after ending 0.28% lower on Wednesday.
The losses come a day after the country reported that its
third quarter GDP fall was not as bad as anticipated, when its
major cities were under lockdown.
Miners were among the top losers on the benchmark,
dropping as much as 2%.
Heavyweights BHP Group, Rio Tinto and
Fortescue Metals Group slumped between 0.8% and 1.3%.
Tech stocks fell as much as 3.5%, dragged lower by
Afterpay dropping to its lowest since July after
delaying its shareholder meeting to vote on its acquisition by
Square Inc, pending regulatory approval from the Spanish
Openpay, which is not a part of the main index, however
advanced as much as 8.3% after signing a partnership with
American Express to let AmEx's card holders to fund
purchases with its buy now, pay later (BNPL) service.
In one of the country's biggest deals this year, Australian
Pharmaceutical Industries soared as much as 16.4% to a
more than three-year high, after it received a buyout proposal
from supermarket chain Woolworths for $613 million,
outbidding competitor Wesfarmers.
Woolworths and Wesfarmers lost 0.7% and 0.3%, respectively
on the news.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.48%
by 2354 GMT.
(Reporting by Harshita Swaminathan; Editing by Rashmi Aich)