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Miners drag Australia shares lower as iron ore prices lag

Sept 15 (Reuters) – Australian shares fell on Wednesday, dragged down by losses in heavyweight miners BHP Group and Rio Tinto due to softer iron prices, though gains in gold stocks limited the fall.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.47% at 7,402.2 points, as of 0037 GMT. The benchmark closed 0.16% higher on Tuesday.

The mining index fell 0.75%. Heavyweights BHP Group and Rio Tinto lost 2.3% and 0.8%, respectively, as Chinese iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 0.6%.

Financial stocks slipped 0.75%, with The ‘Big Four’ banks dropping between 0.8% and 1%.

Energy stocks fell 1.32​% led by Santos Ltd , down 2.47%, followed by Beach Energy Ltd losing 2.47%, even as oil prices ended largely flat on Tuesday.

On the upside, gold stocks rose 0.87% led by Tribune Resources Ltd up 4.9%, followed by Calidus Resources Ltd gaining 2.7​%.

The number of issues on the ASX that advanced were 672 while 683 declined as a 1-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

Meanwhile, a measure of Australian consumer sentiment bounced in early September amid hopes harsh coronavirus restrictions would soon be eased. Victoria state’s first-dose vaccination rate neared the 70% level.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.15% to 13,088.9. The top percentage losers were Synlait Milk Ltd, down 1.58%, followed by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd, losing 1.29%.

Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei was down 0.61% at 30483.07, while S&P 500 E-minis futures were up 8 points, or 0.18%.

(Reporting by Arundhati Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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