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Australia: Shares flat as surging Covid-19 cases offset vaccine cheer

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Australian shares were flat on Thursday, as worries over a surge in Covid-19 cases in the country offset cheer over a potential vaccine which sent shares up around the globe.

[BENGALURU] Australian shares were flat on Thursday, as worries over a surge in Covid-19 cases in the country offset cheer over a potential vaccine which sent shares up around the globe.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.07 per cent to 6,048.7 points by 0147 GMT.

Australian state premiers on Wednesday warned of stricter mobility restrictions if a Covid-19 outbreak was not brought under control. There have been 10 days of triple digit gains in the country as of Wednesday.

Meanwhile, trial of an experimental Covid-19 vaccine by biotech start-up Moderna Inc showed encouraging results on Tuesday, sending US stocks sharply higher on Wednesday.

Among top gainers were shares of Alumina Ltd, which were also the most heavily traded by volume after its joint venture with Alcoa Corp, AWAC, achieved record quarterly daily alumina production.

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The mining sub-index fell up to 0.8 per cent, with sector heavyweights BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group in the red.

The gold sub-index fell 1.3 per cent led by Dacian Gold Ltd , down 7.6 per cent, followed by Red 5 Ltd, losing 4.4 per cent.

Across the Tasman Sea in New Zealand, consumer prices fell by the most in four years last quarter as most of the economy was closed to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The benchmark index opened 0.5 per cent higher, but pared gains later in the day. However, the index was set for a fourth day of gains.

The top percentage losers on the index were Investore Property Ltd, down 4.1 per cent, followed by Tourism Holdings Ltd, losing 1.7 per cent.

REUTERS

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