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Australian Shares Close 0.2% Lower as Tech Retreats, Recycling IPO Surges 55%

Published 02/12/2021, 04:33 pm
Updated 02/12/2021, 04:38 pm
© Reuters.
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By Oliver Gray

Investing.com - The ASX 200 fell 0.70 points or 0.15% to 7,225.20 in Thursday’s trading session, extending declines for the second consecutive day, with the technology sector recording heavy losses as market participants turned risk-averse amid the growing spread of the coronavirus Omicron variant both locally and across the globe.

Among stocks, technology companies were among the worst performers, with Xero Ltd (ASX:XRO) down 5.1%, Wisetech Global Ltd (ASX:WTC) falling 1.05%, Technology One Ltd (ASX:TNE) down 0.66% and Netwealth Group Ltd (ASX:NWL) plummeting 6.34%.

Afterpay Touch Group Ltd (ASX:APT) plunged 6.1% as the company said it would delay the crucial shareholder vote to seal the Square (NYSE:SQ) acquisition following a delay in approval from the Bank of Spain. Zip Co Ltd (ASX:Z1P) also declined 2.97%.

Major miners also dipped, with Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX:RIO) down 1.42%, BHP Billiton Ltd (ASX:BHP) falling 0.65% and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX:FMG) down 0.17%. Orocobre Ltd (ASX:ORE) also shed 5.37%.

Banks mostly gained as long term bonds ticked higher, with Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX:MQG) up 1.68%, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ASX:ANZ) adding 0.15%, Commonwealth Bank Of Australia (ASX:CBA) up 2.23% and National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX:NAB) gaining 0.77%, while Westpac Banking Corp (ASX:WBC) fell 0.73%.

Meantime, Close the Loop surged 55% following its initial public offering. The company targets the so-called “circular economy” and its products and services include the design, manufacture, collecting and reuse of recycling materials.

Meantime, Australian Pharma Industries Ltd (ASX:API) lifted 16.72% after Woolworths announced a surprise $A870 million offer to acquire the business in a move that would see the national retailer significantly expand its operations in the healthcare space.

Among data, retail sales in Australia rose by 4.9% in October, the second straight month of increase, with consumers returning to spending in force amid easing lockdowns in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory. Meantime, Australia's trade balance fell amid softening global demand as exports fell 3% while imports dropped at the same pace.

On the bond markets, Australia 10-Year rates were at 1.689%, while United States 10-Year yields were at 1.439%.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 was down 0.53% to 12,670.

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