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Australian shares slide as tech stocks, Omicron worries weigh

01/09/2022 | 07:24pm EDT

Jan 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Monday as technology stocks tracked a weak finish on Wall Street in the previous session, with surging cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus denting sentiment further.

The benchmark ASX 200 index declined 0.4% to 7,421.3 points by 2313 GMT.

Fears of a sooner-than-expected interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve dragged Wall Street on Friday, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq index dropped nearly 1%. Local technology stocks mirrored the index's move on Monday.

The tech sub-index shed 1.8% to hit its lowest level since June last year, dragged by Zip Co Ltd and EML Payments Ltd, losing about 3.4% and 1.6%, respectively.

Meanwhile, authorities in the country reinstated some restrictions to battle a record spike in COVID-19 infections, with an official modelling indicating that the Omicron outbreak in New South Wales could peak by January-end.

Among individual shares and sectors, the "Big Four" banks fell between 0.3% and 0.9%, while the broader financial sub-index fell 0.7%.

Gold stocks followed suit, dropping 0.3%, with gold miner Northern Star Resources Ltd declining 0.6%.

The energy sub-index, however, shrugged off weaker oil prices to add 0.7%.

Whitehaven Coal Ltd declined 1.3% to be one of the biggest pct losers on the sub-index.

Miners also rose 1.5% on stronger iron ore and metal prices, with global iron ore miners Rio Tinto and BHP Group up 2.8% and 1.9%.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.6% to 12,899.5 points.

Media firm SKY Network Television Ltd fell 2.8% to a near four-week low and headed for its fourth straight day of losses.

Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.03%, while the S&P 500 E-minis futures slipped 0.3%. (Reporting by Yamini C S; editing by Uttaresh.V)

© Reuters 2022
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BHP GROUP LIMITED 2.05% 47.18 Delayed Quote.13.69%
EML PAYMENTS LIMITED 4.68% 1.455 Delayed Quote.-54.95%
NASDAQ COMP. -0.30% 11354.62 Real-time Quote.-27.21%
NIKKEI 225 1.27% 26739.03 Real-time Quote.-8.30%
NORTHERN STAR RESOURCES LIMITED 4.13% 9.07 Delayed Quote.-3.61%
RIO TINTO PLC 1.91% 5449 Delayed Quote.11.39%
S&P 500 0.01% 3901.36 Real-time Quote.-18.16%
S&P/ASX 200 1.15% 7145.6 Real-time Quote.-5.11%
SKY NETWORK TELEVISION LIMITED 5.88% 2.52 End-of-day quote.-6.67%
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION 0.51% 23.57 Delayed Quote.10.40%
WHITEHAVEN COAL LIMITED 1.54% 5.26 Delayed Quote.101.53%
ZIP CO LIMITED 6.90% 0.93 Delayed Quote.-78.52%
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