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Australia shares fall amid broad-based losses, mixed Wall St finish

April 15 (Reuters) – Australian shares fell on Thursday, as losses across the board and a mixed finish on Wall Street overnight weighed on the benchmark index.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.33% to 7,000.2 in early trade, after having closed above 7,000-mark on Wednesday for the first time since late-February last year.

Wall Street’s main indexes closed mixed overnight, with the Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 seeing a fall. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose on bumper bank earnings.

In other markets, Nikkei futures were up 0.32% and S&P 500 E-minis futures added 0.18%.

Australian tech shares fell 1.49%, led by losses in Nearmap Ltd, down 3.1%, and Xero Ltd that shed 2.83%.

The gold index declined 1.54%, led lower by Regis Resources Ltd, down 13.26%. Evolution Mining Ltd followed it with losses of 4.91%.

Miners rose 1.27% to limit losses on the benchmark. This was despite a fall in iron ore and gold prices.

Sandfire Resources Ltd jumped 4.2% to lead the gains on the sub-index, followed by Mineral Resources Ltd , up 3.43​%.

The energy sub-index rose 1% as oil prices surged almost 5% on Wednesday on hopes of a return in demand.

The rally was led by Ampol Ltd, up 3.52%, and Beach Energy Ltd that climbed 2.69​%.

Ampol on Thursday also reported that it expected to see recovery in Australian fuel demand as the year progresses.

Meanwhile, Whitehaven Coal fell as much as 14.4% after it lowered its sales forecast for the year due to issues at its Narrabri underground mine.

Financial stocks fell 0.41%. Zip Co Ltd fell 2.29% and Credit Corp Group Ltd slid 1.71%.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell as much as 0.88%, with Contact Energy losing the most, followed by Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation. Both lost as much as 5% and 2.5%, respectively.

(Reporting by Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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