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Markets

Australia shares end lower as Sydney extends lockdown

  • Bucking the trend, gold stocks rose 0.9% as bullion prices climbed against a weaker dollar
Updated 28 Jul 2021

Australian shares ended lower on Wednesday as the country's most populous city of Sydney extended a coronavirus lockdown by another four weeks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.7% to 7,379.3 at the end of trade, its lowest close since July 21.

Sydney, a city of 5 million people, on Wednesday told residents to stay at home until August 28 as it fights a flare-up of the virulent Delta coronavirus variant.

The worsening outbreak could lead to Australia's central bank delaying the tapering of its asset purchases from September to November, London-based research consultancy Capital Economics said in a note.

Australian shares poised to open higher, NZ edges up

Domestic consumer prices rose at the fastest annual pace in almost 13 years last quarter, data showed on Wednesday, but a milder rise in core inflation suggested the spike could be temporary.

"We can't see the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) being too alarmed by this data. They have made it quite clear that they anticipated a short-lived spike in inflation above the upper bound of their target," Netherlands' ING Group said in a note to clients.

Tech stocks dropped 2.1% as they tracked peers on Wall Street, where investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of results from top firms in the sector and a Federal Reserve announcement.

Energy stocks lost 1.4%, with gas explorers Woodside Petroleum and Santos Ltd falling 2% and 1.4% respectively.

Financial stocks were also lower, with the "Big Four" banks falling in the range of 0.3% and 1.4%.

Bucking the trend, gold stocks rose 0.9% as bullion prices climbed against a weaker dollar.

Spark Infrastructure was the top gainer on the benchmark index, adding 5.4%, after a consortium that includes private equity giant KKR & Co Inc sweetened a buyout deal for the electricity infrastructure investor.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended flat at 12,595.3.

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