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Australian Stocks Tumble Amid Soaring Covid Cases
19-Jan-22   15:22 Hrs IST

The Australian stock market fell on Wednesday, extending the losses in the previous session on weakness in technology and financial stocks. A massive surge in Covid-19 infections and heavy selloff in US stocks overnight weighed on sentiments. Major state New South Wales reported 32,297 new cases and 32 deaths on Tuesday and Victoria also reported 20,769 new cases and 18 deaths. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 shed 1% to close at 7332.50, sliding for second straight session. The index is at its lowest level in last one month. The broader All Ordinaries Index also closed down 1% to 7656.

Among major miners, OZ Minerals fell 1% and Fortescue Metals lost 1.5%. BHP Group closed down 0.30% while Rio Tinto gained 0.24%. Energy stocks edged up though as crude oil prices rallied to a seven-year high amid tight supply outlook. Oil and gas explorers Woodside Petroleum and Santos rose 0.9% and 2%, respectively. Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking fell 0.66%, National Australia Bank dropped 1.16% and Westpac dipped 0.79. The Commonwealth Bank tanked 1.45%, making sure the banking space remains under stress.

In economic news, consumer confidence in Australia held in positive territory in December, the latest survey from Westpac Bank revealed on Wednesday as its index for sentiment dropped 2% to a score of 102.2 - remaining above 100 and in the green.

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