Sept 8 (Reuters) – Australian shares fell on Wednesday, dented by heavyweights mining and gold sectors after most commodity prices took a hit on demand crunch as the greenback strengthened.
The benchmark ASX 200 index was down 0.4% at 7497.40 points, as of 0034 GMT.
Gold prices were set for their biggest intraday drop in a month, as a buoyant dollar and higher yields took the shine off the metal, while concerns about weak demand in the United States and Asia pressured oil to drop 1.4%.
On the pandemic front, new COVID-19 cases fell for a third straight day in Sydney, with authorities vaccinating the country’s citizens at a rapid pace.
Miners lost nearly 1% as copper prices hit their lowest in five months.
Global miners Rio Tinto and BHP Group fell 0.3% and 1%, respectively.
Australian gold stocks shed the most, losing 2.5% to hit their lowest level since Aug. 27, with Dacian Gold Ltd down 4.4% to be the top loser in the sub-index.
The energy index followed course, declining 0.9%, with coal miner Whitehaven Coal Ltd as the worst performer.
Banking stocks were the only sector in positive territory as they added 0.5% to mark their highest level in three weeks.
The sub-index was lifted by Macquarie Group Ltd, which hit a record high despite forecasting “slightly” lower first-half results, compared with the second half of fiscal 2021.
The “Big Four” banks, however, traded in the red.
New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.5% to 13,262.66 points.
Dairy firm Synlait Milk was top loser on the bourse after it announced it was discussing a proposal to cut its headcount by 15% with its staff and union representatives.
In other markets, Japan’s Nikkei was up 0.2%, while the S&P E-mini futures were down 0.02%. (Reporting by Yamini C S in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)