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Australia: Shares slip as virus cases resurge in Europe; New Zealand lower

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Australian shares fell slightly on Monday, as a Wall Street decline in the previous session and surging cases of Covid-19 in Europe pushed investors to look past an improvement in the domestic coronavirus situation.

[BENGALURU] Australian shares fell slightly on Monday, as a Wall Street decline in the previous session and surging cases of Covid-19 in Europe pushed investors to look past an improvement in the domestic coronavirus situation.

The S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 0.2 per cent to 5,852.10 by 0102 GMT.

Markets tracked a lower finish on Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite on Friday, with sentiment further dented by resurgence of infections in several European nations.

This is despite the hot spot of Victoria reporting 11 new cases on Monday, better than its three-month low milestone of 14 on Sunday. A steady fall in the daily numbers has put the state on course to ease more curbs.

The Australian gold index fell as much as 1.8 per cent and was set for its worst day since Sept 11. Top losers were Oceanagold Corp, which tumbled as much as 6.6 per cent to its lowest since May 12, and Anglogold Ashanti down 5.7 per cent.

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The wider metals and mining index fell as much as 0.7 per cent, led by Red Ltd's 3 per cent slide and Saracen Mineral's drop of more than 2 per cent.

Helping limit the losses on the benchmark, the healthcare sector climbed 1.6 per cent, buoyed by Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals and Sonic Healthcare, up about 3 per cent each.

Citi raised FY21 earnings forecast for Sonic Healthcare on the assumption of high volumes of Covid-19 testing in the United States and Australia in the first half of 2021.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.49 per cent to 11,576.7, its lowest since Aug 17.

The top percentage losers were Serko, down 4.63 per cent, followed by Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation that shed 3.47 per cent.

REUTERS

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