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Australia: Shares close lower on Wall Street selloff, NSW restrictions

[BENGALURU] Australian shares closed lower on Friday, led by tech stocks after Wall Street's tumble overnight sparked a similar reaction domestically, while indications of a worsening Covid-19 situation added to the gloom.

The S&P/ASX 200 index settled 1.16 per cent down at 6,024, following a 0.3 per cent gain on Thursday. On a weekly basis, the benchmark fell about 0.2 per cent.

Major US indices fell overnight between a little more than 1 per cent to over 2 per cent, after US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin hinted at plans of another round of stimulus checks for Americans as early as next month.

"Mnuchin's words are cheap and mostly political...the economy is broken and that means they have to send checks every month to keep it stable till the elections. That will bankrupt the United States and USD will collapse," said Mathan Somasundaram, market portfolio strategist at Blue Ocean Equities.

Mr Mnuchin's comments come as US jobless claims unexpectedly ticked higher last week amid a resurgence in Covid-19 cases in the country.

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Domestic investor sentiment was further frayed after restrictions were reintroduced in New South Wales on Friday, as coronavirus infections continue to rise.

Technology stocks fell 2.1 per cent led by Megaport, down 6.3 per cent, followed by Bravura Solutions, losing 3.6 per cent.

Drugmaker CSL finished 1.9 per cent down at its lowest close since May 29 after Morgan Stanley cut price target on its stock, citing "greater depression" in plasma collections than anticipated.

The pharmaceutical giant dragged the healthcare index 1.6 per cent down to its lowest close since July 14.

Financial stocks fell 1.5 per cent with all the Big Four banks closing in negative territory.

The energy index fell 1 per cent led by Cooper Energy, down 7.2 per cent, followed by Whitehaven Coal, losing 3.6 per cent.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.5 per cent to 11,636.3.

Top losers were Kiwi Property Group, down 3.7 per cent, followed by Ryman Healthcare, losing 2.1 per cent.


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