Australian shares slipped on Wednesday as energy stocks tracked a tumble in oil prices and the technology sector witnessed a sell-off, with sentiment dented further by renewed fears of a potentially faster global interest-rate hike cycle.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.97% to 7,454.6 points by 0112 GMT — on track to see its worst day since March 7, if the losses hold.
Policymakers in Australia and the United States have pointed to higher interest rates sooner than previously expected as inflation momentum pick ups, with the Reserve Bank of Australia confirming on Tuesday it will soon raise rates.
Local tech shares fell as much as 3.4%, tracking growth stocks on Wall Street lower after Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard spooked investors about potential aggressive actions by the central bank to control inflation.
ASX-listed shares of Block Inc led the selling on the sub-index, skidding 6.6% to their worst session in a month.
Battery materials maker Novonix dropped 7.7% in its worst session since Feb. 24. Energy stocks fell 1.5% following a drop in the oil futures overnight after data showed that a build in US crude stocks and Shanghai's extended lockdown fuelled fears of slower demand.
Sector heavyweights Woodside Petroleum and Santos skidded 1.7% and ~2%, respectively, marking their worst session in over a week.
Australian in vitro fertilization (IVF) service provider Virtus Health was up 0.7% on recieving a revised A$8 per share buyout offer from private equity firm BGH Capital.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.51% to 12,059 points.