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Australia shares fall as subdued copper prices weigh on metal stocks

09/21/2021 | 09:30pm EDT

Sept 22 (Reuters) - Australia shares fell on Wednesday, weighed down by heavyweight banks and mining stocks as copper prices dropped, although gains in energy, tech and gold stocks capped losses.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.23% to 7,256.8 by 0023 GMT, after ending 0.4% higher in the previous session.

Copper prices extended their decline to a one-month low on Tuesday on renewed fears that troubles at debt-laden developer China Evergrande Group could seep into the global economy.

Australian mining stocks fell 0.4%, led by a 2.3% drop in Liontown Resources Ltd, followed by Coronado Global Resources Inc losing 2.01%.

Global miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metlas declined between 0.1% and 0.6%.

Financial stocks shed nearly 1% to hit a more than seven-week low, with the "Big Four" banks declining between 0.5% and 1.1%.

QBE Insurance Group and NIB Holdings were the worst performers on the financials sub-index, losing 2.3% and 2.2%, respectively.

Westpac fell for a fourth straight session, losing as much as 1.2%, after it scrapped the sale of its Pacific businesses to Kina Securities, and said it expected to write back a loss of about A$121 million ($87.52 million) it had recognised with its first-half results.

In contrast, energy stocks rose 1%, led by Washington H Soul Pattinson and Company adding 2.9%, followed by Worley gaining 2.7% on a modest rise in oil prices overnight.

Tech stocks rose 0.3%, led by Xero Ltd up 1.5%, followed by Megaport Ltd gaining 0.6%.

Wall Street closed near flat overnight ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting, where the central bank could set out a timeline to taper its stimulus.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.1% to 13,163.

Japan's Nikkei was down 0.46%, and S&P 500 E-minis futures were down 0.35%. ($1 = 1.3826 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Aditya Munjuluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BHP GROUP 2.80% 38.86 End-of-day quote.-8.41%
CHINA EVERGRANDE GROUP -3.91% 2.95 End-of-day quote.-80.20%
CORONADO GLOBAL RESOURCES INC. 1.74% 1.465 End-of-day quote.29.07%
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED 1.96% 14.6 End-of-day quote.-37.69%
KINA SECURITIES LIMITED -0.56% 0.89 End-of-day quote.-1.11%
LIONTOWN RESOURCES LIMITED -0.95% 1.57 End-of-day quote.361.76%
MEGAPORT LIMITED -1.24% 17.48 End-of-day quote.22.67%
NIB HOLDINGS LIMITED -0.29% 6.84 End-of-day quote.14.57%
QBE INSURANCE GROUP LIMITED -0.68% 11.63 End-of-day quote.36.34%
WASHINGTON H. SOUL PATTINSON AND COMPANY LIMITED 1.54% 34.84 End-of-day quote.15.79%
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION 0.47% 25.39 End-of-day quote.31.08%
WORLEY LIMITED -0.38% 10.5 End-of-day quote.-8.62%
XERO LIMITED 0.92% 144.35 End-of-day quote.-1.68%
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