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Australian shares dropped nearly 2% on Thursday to hit their lowest in more than two weeks, as Ukraine announced a state of emergency amid rising fears of a full-scale Russian invasion, while CIMIC Group soared over 30% following a bid from Hochtief.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 1.8% at 7,077.80 by 2329 GMT.

The benchmark rose 0.6% on Wednesday.

Global markets reacted sharply after Ukraine told its citizens in Russia to immediately come home and the US State Department mentioned that a Russian invasion remained potentially imminent.

Australian shares weighed down by tech stocks, Ukraine tensions

Miners plunged 3% to their lowest since early February, as iron ore prices slumped on concerns regarding demand prospects in China.

Sector heavyweights BHP, Rio Tinto, and Fortescue Metals fell between 2.4% and 5.3%.

Tech stocks dropped as much as 4.5% to hit their lowest since June 2020. ASX-listed shares of Block Inc lost up to 8.5%, while Xero Ltd slid 4.4%.

Qantas Airways Ltd fell 1.7% after it posted a bigger-than-expected half-year loss and forecast a A$650 million hit to second-half earnings before interest and tax due to Omicron.

Shares of CIMIC Group Ltd jumped nearly 34% to hit their highest in more than four months after the construction firm received a A$1.47 billion bid from Hochtief for the remaining 21.4% stake in the Australia firm.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was down 0.6% at 12,057.92. Broadcaster Sky Network Television lost 7.1% after reporting a 29% fall in half-yearly net profit, while Air New Zealand fell as much as 3% after saying it was heading for its biggest annual loss since 2001.

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