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Australia: Shares end flat as investors brace for business closures

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[SYDNEY] Australian shares ended flat on Monday as investors fretted that further virus-led business closures in the country's second-largest state could assuage hopes of a quick economic rebound from the pandemic-induced recession.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.03 per cent at 5,926.1 points at the close of trade.

Investor sentiment was ruffled after the country's second-largest city Melbourne imposed a nightly curfew, as part of the country's harshest movement restrictions to date, while the neighbouring states of New South Wales and South Australia also stepped up precautions.

"People are reassessing the burden of bad loans as businesses close, and domestic-focused banking and consumer stocks are suffering as a result," Henry Jennings, senior analyst at Marcus Today Financial said.

Financials, which were the biggest laggards, closed more than 2 per cent lower with the so-called 'Big Four' banks dropping as much as 4.1 per cent.

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Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended 0.5 per cent lower, dented by financial and utility stocks.

REUTERS

 

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