Australia: Shares fall on Monday as banks, tech stocks drag

AUSTRALIAN shares tumbled more than 1 per cent on Monday as investors looked ahead to US inflation data after a solid jobs report last week quashed hopes that the Federal Reserve would slow its rate-hiking spree.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.4 per cent to 6,665.9 by 0013 GMT in its biggest intraday percentage drop since Sept 26, dragged down by losses in banking and technology stocks.

The benchmark had gained 4.5 per cent last week in its best weekly performance since early October 2020.

Major Wall Street indexes fell sharply on Friday following a stronger-than-expected jobs report that increased the likelihood the Fed will barrel ahead with its interest rate hiking campaign many investors fear will push the US economy into a recession.

In Australia, heavyweight financials tumbled up to 1.3 per cent and were headed for their worst day since late September.

The so-called "big four" banks fell between 0.7 per cent and 1.4 per cent.

Mining stocks slipped 0.6 per cent, weighed down by weaker copper and gold prices.

Gold explorers led losses on the local bourse, declining more than 4 per cent in what could be their worst session in two weeks.

Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources fell 3.0 per cent and 4.1 per cent, respectively.

Energy stocks also traded in negative territory but were among the better performers, aided by higher oil prices.

Tech stocks tracked the Nasdaq lower. ASX-listed shares of Block Inc fell 6.4 per cent to lead losses on the sub-index.

Healthcare and real estate stocks were down 1.7 per cent and 2.3 per cent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Link Administration said it had engaged with Canada's Dye & Durham on a non-exclusive basis to potentially sell its corporate markets and banking segments for A$1.27 billion. Shares of the Australian share registry firm were up 0.6 per cent.

Shares of Johns Lyng Group fell 11 per cent and were the top losers on the ASX 200, after the company said its chief executive officer had sold 4 million shares.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was down 1 per cent at 10,993.1. REUTERS

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