July 19 (Reuters) - Australia shares fell 1.3% on Monday as
COVID-19 cases in Sydney and the state of Victoria sparked
worries of lockdown extension, while software firm Altium sank
on reports that U.S. peer Autodesk would abandon its
$3.9 billion takeover bid.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 1.1% at 7,273.8
points, as of 0025 GMT, its lowest in a week. It slipped as much
as 1.3% to 7,253.20 earlier in the day.
Sydney on Saturday ordered a shutdown of building sites,
non-essential retail, among others, as new COVID-19 cases kept
rising despite the city being three weeks into a lockdown,
sparking worries of a hit to economic recovery.
"The shutdown of Greater Sydney construction is an added
drag of at least another A$1 billion ($740.20 million) over two
weeks," analysts at RBC Capital Markets said in a note.
"Even assuming some recovery later in the third quarter, GDP
could be about 1.5% weaker in the quarter and would likely mean
a negative third quarter (GDP)."
The top percentage losers on the benchmark were
software-maker Altium, down 9.3%, followed by gold
miner Evolution Mining and automotive retailer Eagers
Automotive down 5.1% and 3.8%, respectively.
Altium's shares were paused less than 20 minutes of the
market open after they fell as much as 14% to A$31.47 on reports
that Autocad software maker Autodesk was walking away from its
Miners were the biggest drags in the index, losing
as much as 2.5%, with Sandfire Resources falling the
most at 5.29%.
Heavyweight financials were down as much as 1.9%,
with the "Big Four" banks trading in red.
Energy stocks fell 1.57%, led by Worley,
down 2.45%, and Oil Search losing 2.2%.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50
index slipped 0.31% to 12,634.6.
Top percentage losers on the benchmark were Fletcher
Building, down 2.9%, followed by Kathmandu Holdings
losing 2.7%, and Chorus down 2.1%.
Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei was down 1.2%, while S&P
500 E-minis futures were down 0.3%.
($1 = 1.3510 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry