Australia shares edge lower as tech stocks weigh, Origin Energy top loser

07/29/2021 | 09:38pm

July 30 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell slightly on Friday as losses in tech names overshadowed gains in mining and gold stocks, while Origin Energy dropped to the bottom of the benchmark index after issuing a grim outlook for its core earnings.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was down nearly 0.1% to 7,407.9 by 0112 GMT. It was on track for a small weekly gain, its third in a row.

Origin Energy fell as much as 8.1% after the power and gas retailer said it expected a A$2.25 billion ($1.66 billion) charge in fiscal 2021 and forecast lower core earnings in its energy markets business for the next two years.

While Origin Energy was the biggest loser on the benchmark index, rival AGL Energy declined as much as 4% to hit a record low.

Tech stocks fell more than 1.7% and were the biggest losers on the benchmark. Sector heavyweights Afterpay and Xero shed 2.9% and 0.5%, respectively .

Energy stocks were down 0.5% with Santos and Oil Search falling 0.6% and 0.8%, respectively.

Among gainers, heavyweight miners rose 1% on the back of strong copper prices, extending gains into a second session and hitting a record high.

Rio Tinto, BHP Group and Fortescue Metals climbed between 0.2% and 1.5%.

Gold stocks advanced more than 0.7% on firmer bullion prices. Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources were up 1.4% and 1.5%, respectively.

Investors were also worried about a spike in COVID-19 cases, which prompted authorities to extend a lockdown in the most populous state of New South Wales.

Financials were up 0.6% with the big four banks gaining between 0.3% and 1%.

New Zealand's S&P NZX/50 index was down 0.4%, with A2 Milk and Fletcher Building being the biggest drags. ($1 = 1.3523 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Tejaswi Marthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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