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Australasia, News

Australia shares slip from 14-month high as banking and tech stocks weigh

April 20 (Reuters) – Australian shares slipped from 14-month highs on Tuesday, tracking losses on Wall Street, with technology and financial stocks weighing the most on the local benchmark.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.5% to 7,030.10 by 0030 GMT, down after rising for five straight sessions to hit its highest level since Feb. 24, 2020 on Monday. It is off more than 2% from a record high scaled in February last year.

Overnight, all three major U.S. indexes settled lower, slipping from last week’s record levels as investors awaited direction from corporate earnings, while electric carmaker Tesla fell more than 3%.

In other markets, Japan’s Nikkei traded 1.73% lower on Tuesday, while S&P 500 E-minis futures were up 0.17%. ​

In Australia, Afterpay was among the top percentage gainers on the benchmark, trading 2.6% higher after it said it was exploring a U.S. listing and reported a more than two-fold jump in its third-quarter sales volumes.

Gains in Afterpay, however, failed to push the Australian technology index higher. The index declined as much as 1.2%.

Miners declined about half a percent, with BHP Group and Fortescue Metals Group falling about 0.2% each.

Rio Tinto, the world’s biggest iron ore miner, added 0.8% after it reported a 7% rise in its March-quarter iron ore shipments compared with a year earlier.

Lynas Rare Earths lost as much as 4%, marking its biggest intraday percentage drop in nearly four weeks, after it reported a slight drop in its quarterly rare earths output.

Financial stocks fell 0.6%, with top lenders Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd declining 0.4% each.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 1% to 12,641.1, its biggest drop in four weeks.

The top percentage loser on the index was Meridian Energy , down 3.1%. Mercury NZ fell 2.5%, while Auckland International Airport slipped 1.7%. ($1 = 1.2868 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)


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