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Australia: Shares fall over 1% as data signals slow global recovery

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Australian shares fell more than 1 per cent on Thursday, as concerns about the global economic recovery escalated after data showed that business activity in the United States and Europe cooled this month due to new restrictions to quell the coronavirus.

[BENGALURU] Australian shares fell more than 1 per cent on Thursday, as concerns about the global economic recovery escalated after data showed that business activity in the United States and Europe cooled this month due to new restrictions to quell the coronavirus.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.6% to 5,831.30 by 0016 GMT, on track for its worst session since Sept 9. The benchmark closed 2.4 per cent firmer on Wednesday.

Wall Street indexes fell sharply overnight after data showed a loss of momentum in the US economy during September, amid rising concerns about a potential surge in Covid-19 cases as countries head into colder months.

Additionally, a survey showed that business growth in the Euro zone ground to a halt in September, throwing economic recovery into question, as fresh restrictions to quell a resurgence in coronavirus infections slammed the services industry into reverse.

Australia's gold index tumbled as much as 4.4 per cent to its lowest level since Aug 28, as bullion prices touched a more-than-two-month low.

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OceanaGold Corp declined 7.8 per cent to its lowest since May 5, while Red 5 lost more than 9 per cent.

The broader mining index fell 2.3 per cent to its lowest since July 7, with mining giants BHP Group and Rio Tinto each dropping more than 1 per cent.

Technology stocks fell 2.6 per cent and were set for their worst session in a week.

Buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay fell 4.5 per cent to mark its biggest intraday drop since Sept 17, after chief fianancial officer (CFO) Luke Bortoli said he will leave the company after three years in the role.

The financial index fell nearly 2 per cent in its worst session since Sept. 9, with all the "Big Four" banks down more than 1 per cent.

Westpac Banking Corp, which fell as much as 2.4 per cent, said it would pay A$1.3 billion (S$1.78 billion) to settle a case filed by the country's financial crimes watchdog against the lender for breaching anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dipped 0.17 per cent to 11,684.8.

Top percentage losers were Serko, down 3.17 per cent, followed by Chorus Ltd, which lost 2.04 per cent.

REUTERS

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