Australia: Miners, energy stocks drag shares lower

AUSTRALIAN shares fell on Wednesday, dragged down by mining and energy stocks on weak commodity prices, while overnight Wall Street losses also weighed on sentiment amid rising fears of a global economic slowdown due to aggressive interest rate hikes.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.37 per cent to 6,972.6 by 0118 GMT. The benchmark closed 0.5 per cent higher on Tuesday.

World stocks tumbled overnight, as investors worried about continued US and European interest rate hikes, while data in the US showed a rise in job openings, fuelling fears the Federal Reserve has another reason to maintain its aggressive path of rate hikes.

Energy stocks were the top losers on the Australian benchmark index, shedding 2.9 per cent after oil prices slipped overnight on fears that fuel demand could soften as global central banks hike rates to fight surging inflation, and unrest in Iraq failed to dent the Opec nation's crude exports.

Sector leaders Woodside Energy and Santos dropped 4 per cent and 2.9 per cent, respectively, with Woodside eyeing its worst day since July 21.

Export-reliant miners slipped 1.6% as iron ore futures tumbled amid renewed worries over Covid-19 curbs and steel output restrictions in top producer China.

Sector behemoths BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals shed between 2.1 per cent and 4.5 per cent.

Financials were up 0.3 per cent, paring losses made in early trade, with three of the so-called "Big Four" banks rising above 0.5 per cent each.

Among individual stocks, Australian gambling firm PointsBet Holdings fell 10.9 per cent, its biggest drop in a month after reporting a widened net loss of A$267.7 million (S$256.8 million) in fiscal 2022, from a loss of A$188.7 million a year ago.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.14 per cent to 11,632.8. AFP


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