Sept 17 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Friday,
dragged by mining stocks and a drop in software firm Iress
after it rejected a buyout bid, with worries of higher
COVID-19 cases denting sentiment.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.72% to 7,406.3 by 0019
Australia's second-largest state reported its second-highest
daily rise in new infections this year, even as Prime Minister
Scott Morrison pledged more freedom for vaccinated citizens.
The top percentage loser on the benchmark index was Iress
Ltd, down nearly 10%, after the company rejected a
buyout offer from Swedish private equity firm EQT for the third
Mining stocks tracked a near 4% drop in iron ore
prices to shed 3.81%. Fortescue Metals Group Ltd's
7.83% drop led the decline, followed by SSR Mining Inc
that lost 7.73%.
Gold stocks fell 3.93%, with sector heavyweight
Newcrest Mining dropping over 3% as bullion prices
retreated on dollar strength and fears of an early tapering by
the U.S. Federal Reserve.
The energy index fell 1.66%, as oil prices steadied
overnight after hitting a multi-week high a day earlier.
Technology stocks, however, rose 1.52%. Afterpay Ltd
jumped 3.33%, followed by Altium Ltd, up
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose
0.59% to 13,156.4.
Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei was up 0.18% at 30,377.9
while S&P 500 E-minis futures were down 8.75 points, or
(Reporting by Arundhati Dutta in Bengaluru; editing by