Australian shares end lower over Omicron surge worries, tech slide

7 months ago 158

Australian shares closed lower on Monday as an Omicron-led surge in Covid-19 infections pushed the country's tally past one million cases, with a drop in local technology stocks ahead of a US inflation report weighing further on markets.

The S&P/ASX 200 ended 0.1 per cent lower at 7,447.1, giving up some of Friday's 1.3 per cent gain.

Total infections in Australia continued to surge, with over half a million cases reported over the last week, straining the country's healthcare infrastructure and supply chains.

Technology stocks fell nearly 1 per cent , tracking a drop on the tech-focused Nasdaq on Friday. Worries of sooner-than-expected policy tightening by the Federal Reserve have increased after a recent US jobs missed expectations, with inflation data in focus to gauge the central bank's trajectory.

Sector heavyweight Afterpay retreated 2.3 per cent , while other tech firms Xero and Wisetech Global fell 2.8 per cent and 2.7 per cent , respectively.

Bucking the trend, energy stocks added 1.1 per cent and rose for a second consecutive session, as oil prices remained in an upward momentum, with political instability in Kazakhstan leading to concerns over oil supply.

Woodside Petroleum rose 2.3 per cent , followed by Santos , up 0.7 per cent .

Meanwhile, the former chief executive of fibre cement maker James Hardie, who was fired for breaching the company's code of conduct, said he was considering legal action against the firm. Its shares ended 1.3 per cent lower.

In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 fell 0.6 per cent in its third session of losses to 12,892.94, hurt by an 3.5 per cent drop in media firm SKY Network Television Ltd to a near four-week low.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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