Jan 19 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Wednesday to
their lowest close in a month, weighed down by technology stocks
after a spike in U.S. Treasury yields on prospects of aggressive
interest rate hikes sent Wall Street peers lower overnight.
The S&P/ASX 200 closed 1% lower at 7,332.50 in its
second straight session of fall, with tech stocks
shedding 2.6% to hit their lowest in nearly eight months.
Buy now, pay later firm Afterpay slid 1.2%, while
Xero and WiseTech Global retreated 2.4% and
Brad Smoling, managing director of Smoling Stockbroking,
said a subdued start to the U.S. earnings season also weighed on
"Rates are really high on U.S. Treasury yields, sending a
lot of nerves in the market," he said.
Among other sectors, financials dropped 1.4%, after
authorities said Australia should brace for more COVID-19 deaths
for the next few weeks, as record infections fuelled by the
Omicron outbreak overwhelmed health systems.
Surveys released this week showed Australian consumer
sentiment was hit in January as a surge in coronavirus cases
filled up hospitals and curbed spending.
Weak bullion prices reduced the appeal of gold stocks,
sending the sectoral sub-index down 1.9%.
Gold majors Newcrest Mining and Northern Star
Resources were down 0.9% and 3.4%, respectively.
Energy stocks rose 0.6% as oil prices rallied to a
seven-year high amid tight supply outlook and geopolitical
troubles in Russia and the United Arab Emirates.
Oil and gas explorers Woodside Petroleum and Santos
rose 0.9% and 2%, respectively.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 fell
1.6% to 12,612.31.
(Reporting by Upasana Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu