Australian shares end lower as energy, miners weigh

09/15/2021 | 03:41am

* Miners, energy stocks lead losses on ASX 200

* Lithium, uranium stocks limit some losses

* NZX 50 ends flat

Sept 15 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed lower on Wednesday, after gaining for three consecutive sessions, as energy stocks declined and weak iron ore prices weighed on heavyweight miners.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.27% down at 7,417.

"The market moved without any sense of direction and had more reasons to retreat than rally today, with Wall Street falling overnight, descending bond yields weighing on the banks and a evident weakness in the resources sector," Henry Jennings, senior analyst at Marcustoday Financial Newsletter said.

Major miners dropped 1.53%, tracking benchmark iron ore futures which plunged to a more than 9-month low on continued slide in Chinese steel output.

Heavyweight miner BHP Group Ltd led losses on the sub-index, down 3.52%, followed by Champion Iron Ltd, losing 3.19%.

Limiting losses on the benchmark, however, lithium prices continued to rise, with lithium miner Pilbara Minerals and Orocobre hitting record highs.

Uranium stocks also added to the gains uranium development firm Bannerman Energy advanced 22.58% and Boss Energy climbed 10.71%.

"Lithium and uranium are starting to have their days in the market as the commodities are a key plank in the green energy equation with countries looking to reduce their emission targets," Jennings said.

Energy stocks fell 2.21% despite an uptick in oil prices. Heavyweight Worley Ltd led losses, skidding 4.3%, followed by Beach Energy Ltd, losing 4.04%.

Among major banks, Westpac was the only bank from the "Big Four" to close higher at 0.3%, with the financial sector skidding 0.28%.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended 0.07% lower at 13,099.3. (Reporting by Riya Sharma in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

© Reuters 2021
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