Australian stocks fall as commodity slump hits gold, miners
September 8 (Reuters) – Australian stocks fell on Wednesday, rocked by heavyweights in the mining and gold sectors after most commodity prices were hit by the slump in demand as the greenback strengthened.
The benchmark ASX 200 was down 0.4% to 7,497.40 points, at 0034 GMT.
Gold prices were set for their biggest intraday decline in a month, as a dynamic dollar and higher yields shone the metal, while concerns over weak demand in the United States and Asia pushed oil down 1.4%.
On the pandemic front, new cases of COVID-19 have fallen for a third day in a row in Sydney, with authorities vaccinating the country’s citizens at a rapid rate.
Miners lost nearly 1% as copper prices hit their lowest level in five months.
Global miners Rio Tinto and BHP Group fell 0.3% and 1%, respectively.
Australian gold stocks lost the most, dropping 2.5% to their lowest level since August 27, with Dacian Gold Ltd down 4.4% to be the sub-index’s first loser.
The energy index followed suit, falling 0.9%, with coal miner Whitehaven Coal Ltd being the worst performer.
Banking stocks were the only sector in positive territory as they rose 0.5% to their highest level in three weeks.
The sub-index was raised by Macquarie Group Ltd, which reached an all-time high despite expectations of “slightly” lower results in the first half, compared to the second half of fiscal 2021.
The Big Four banks, however, have traded in the red.
New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 fell 0.5% to 13,262.66 points.
Dairy company Synlait Milk was the stock market’s biggest loser after announcing it was discussing a proposal to cut its workforce by 15% with its staff and union representatives.
In other markets, the Japanese Nikkei was up 0.2%, while S&P E-mini futures were down 0.02%. (Reporting by Yamini CS in Bangalore; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)