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Australian shares fall from 5-month high as tech losses weigh

01/04/2022 | 07:18pm EDT

Jan 5 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Wednesday, after hitting a near five-month high during the session, as weakness in technology stocks overshadowed gains from financial and mining sectors.

The S&P/ASX 200 index, which rose as much as 0.4%, was down 0.1 at 7580.6 by 0007 GMT. The benchmark had settled 2% higher on Tuesday, the strongest closing level since mid-August.

The technology sub-index tracked overnight losses on the Nasdaq and fell as much as 2.3%, their biggest single-day loss since mid-December.

Buy now, pay later giant Afterpay dropped as much as 4.9% to hit its lowest since October 2020. EML Payments and Altium were down 1.5% and 1.8%, respectively.

Financials rose as much as 0.9% to hit their highest since Nov. 17, driven by the so-called "Big Four" banks.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corp added between 0.5% and 0.9%, while Macquarie Group rose as much as 2.5% to hit a record high.

Miners advanced as much as 0.9%, scaling their highest since August last year, as iron ore prices rose on improved demand prospects in top steel producer China.

Rio Tinto and BHP Group added 0.4% and 0.7%, respectively, while Sims Ltd jumped 3.3%.

Healthcare stocks fell 1.2%, with biotechnology giant CSL Ltd falling 0.8%.

Coal stocks extended gains, as China's thermal coal futures surged on concerns of supply disruptions after Indonesia, its biggest overseas supplier, banned exports.

Whitehaven Coal and Yancoal Australia rose 1.1% and 1.8%, respectively.

Meanwhile, Australia reported 47,799 new infections on Tueday, up nearly a third from Monday's number which was also a record.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index, which rose as much as 0.7% to hit its highest since Oct. 26, 2021, pared gains to trade 0.3% higher.

Financials and healthcare stocks were the gainers on the bourse.

(Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

© Reuters 2022
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AFTERPAY -2.18% 66.47 End-of-day quote.-19.93%
ALTIUM LIMITED -4.33% 27.16 Delayed Quote.-37.18%
BHP GROUP LIMITED -1.66% 46.23 Delayed Quote.13.28%
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA -0.95% 103.8 Delayed Quote.3.76%
CSL LIMITED 0.33% 274 Delayed Quote.-6.06%
EML PAYMENTS LIMITED -4.79% 1.39 Delayed Quote.-54.80%
MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED -2.13% 177.64 Delayed Quote.-11.64%
NASDAQ COMP. -4.73% 11418.15 Real-time Quote.-23.40%
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED -1.34% 30.86 Delayed Quote.8.46%
RIO TINTO PLC -1.45% 5294.42 Delayed Quote.9.81%
S&P/ASX 200 -1.65% 7064.5 Real-time Quote.-4.46%
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION -1.59% 23.45 Delayed Quote.14.47%
WHITEHAVEN COAL LIMITED -1.89% 5.18 Delayed Quote.102.30%
YANCOAL AUSTRALIA LTD 0.36% 5.65 Delayed Quote.116.54%
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