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Markets

Miners hold back Australian shares even as financials gain

  • Insurance Australia Group and QBE Insurance added 4.6% and 3.2%, respectively, ahead of earnings later this week
Published August 9, 2021
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Australian shares ended flat on Monday as losses in gold and mining stocks offset strong gains in financials, which were lifted by insurers ahead of earnings later this week.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed unchanged at 7,538.4 points, the record closing level hit on Friday.

Gold stocks shed 3.2%, the most among all sectors, as bullion dipped after solid US jobs data stoked concerns of a sooner-than-expected interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve.

Evolution Mining and Newcrest Mining fell 2.4% and 2.7%, respectively.

Australian shares track Wall Street lower on weak US jobs data

Miners were also among top drags, shedding as much as 1.2%, as iron ore prices came under pressure from prospects of improved supply and weakening Chinese demand.

BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group fell between 0.8% and 1.4%. Financial stocks were the bright spot, adding 1.3% for the day.

Shares of National Australia Bank closed 0.9% higher after the country's third-largest lender said it would buy Citigroup's local consumer unit in a deal valued at about $882 million.

Insurer Suncorp Group climbed 7.8% after announcing strong annual results and a share buyback that supported outsized gains by the sector.

Insurance Australia Group and QBE Insurance added 4.6% and 3.2%, respectively, ahead of earnings later this week.

Westpac rose 1% after it agreed to sell its domestic life insurance business to Japan's Dai-ichi Life Holdings for A$900 million ($660 million).

Australia's pharmaceutical regulator granted provisional approval to Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, while authorities in New South Wales expanded lockdown measures to the countryside.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.5% to 12,700.83.

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