Australia shares plummet as COVID-19 woes in Europe fuel fears of recovery – Community News

Australia shares plummet as COVID-19 woes in Europe fuel fears of recovery

Nov. 22 (Reuters) – Australian shares fell Monday as a resurgence in COVID-19 cases in Europe led to new lockdowns and painted a bleak picture of the global economy’s recovery from the coronavirus.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (.AXJO) closed 0.59% lower at 7,353.1 after two consecutive gains.

Damian Rooney, Argonaut’s director of stock sales, said the market fell due to “a poor lead from the US on Friday night and weekend news, particularly on the situation in Europe.”

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Travel stocks were among the biggest losers, with three of the top 10 fallers on the benchmark index belonging to the sector. Travel agencies Flight Center Travel Group (FLT.AX) and Corporate Travel Management (CTD.AX) and carrier Qantas (QAN.AX) fell between 4% and 7.1%.

Bank stocks (.AXFJ) closed 1.4% lower after hitting their weakest level since August 2. The so-called “Big Four” banks lost between 1.2% and 2.1%.

Rooney attributed the sell-off to the sector’s brokerage downgrades last week after the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA.AX) became the third top four lender to signal pressure on margins and the weaker Australian dollar.

Energy stocks (.AXEJ) fell 1.6%, reaching their lowest point in nearly a month as oil prices plunged to a seven-week low.

Miners (.AXMM) rose 0.5%, providing some support to the benchmark. Iron ore prices rose 4%, pushing industry heavyweights BHP Group (BHP.AX), Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) and Fortescue (FMG.AX) between 0.4% and 2.1%.

Vulcan Energy (VUL.AX) climbed 7.1% to become the second-highest gain in the index after signing its second supply agreement with Renault SA (RENA.PA) for battery-grade lithium chemicals. read more

The New Zealand benchmark S&P/NZX 50 (.NZ50) finished 1.04% lower at 12,607.64, with Meridian Energy (MEL.NZ) hitting a more than 16-month low with the sale of its Australian unit. read more

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Reporting by Harshita Swaminathan; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu’

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