* Australian benchmark falls near 2%
* Tech stocks drop over 3%
* Miners extend losses to a fourth consecutive session
* NZ ends 0.7% lower
Sept 9 (Reuters) - Australian shares posted their biggest
drop in nearly three months on Thursday, hit by mining and tech
stocks, while concerns over rising COVID-19 cases derailing an
economic recovery also dented sentiment.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.9% to end at 7,369.5,
its biggest drop since May 19. The benchmark ended 0.2% lower on
The tech index tracked the Nasdaq lower to fall
3.2%, its biggest drop in two months.
Buy now, pay later giant Afterpay fell as much as
3.1% to hit its lowest since Aug. 5, extending losses for a
third consecutive session.
"We are seeing a massive sell-off across all the sectors as
investors seem to be concerned that the Fed (U.S. Federal
Reserve) could further trim its pandemic stimulus program sooner
than expected to cushion the blow from the pandemic," said James
Tao, market analyst at CommSec.
Miners were down over 2% and extended losses to a
fourth consecutive session following a slump in iron ore prices.
Sector giants BHP Group, Rio Tinto and
Fortescue Metals fell between 0.6% and 2.5%.
Authorities chalked out plans to open recreational
facilities in Sydney, Australia's most populous city, even as
Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned that higher case numbers
would follow the easing of curbs.
Financials slid 2%, with the 'Big Four' banks
closing in the red.
Gold stocks fell 1.8% to hit their lowest in six
months, as gold prices fell to a near two-week low on firmer
Wiluna Mining and Dacian Gold led losses
on the sub-index, each shedding 4.8%.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.7%
to end at 13,095.77, with healthcare and consumer stocks leading
(Reporting by Tejaswi Marthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi