Australian shares fall after Wall Street sell-off; Oil Search jumps

07/19/2021 | 09:12pm

July 20 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell more than 1% on Tuesday, following a sell-off on Wall Street as rising global coronavirus cases soured risk appetite, while Oil Search jumped after rejecting a takeover bid from Santos.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 1.1% to 7,205.0 by 0014 GMT, hitting its lowest level since June 2.

Overnight, all three major U.S. stock indexes ended sharply lower as rising Delta variant infections dampened risk appetite and revived worries about a slowdown in economic recovery and fresh lockdowns.

Heavyweight miners were the top drags on the Australian benchmark index, losing as much as 2.2%.

Perenti Global and Champion Iron were the biggest losers in the sub-index, shedding 6.7% and 4.6%, respectively.

BHP Group slipped 2.7% after the world's largest listed miner reported a drop in its fourth-quarter iron ore output, and lower annual production across four of its six major divisions.

Energy stocks fell 2.3% and were headed for a fourth consecutive session of drop, with Worley and Beach Energy being the top drags, losing about 4% each.

Oil Search jumped as much as 5.2% after it rejected a takeover offer by Santos, which valued the Papua New Guinea-focused oil and gas producer at A$8.83 billion ($6.48 billion), saying it was "not in the best interest of shareholders".

Tech stocks erased early gains to trade 0.4% higher, with buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay adding 1.9% after it announced the launch of a new banking application in October.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.9% to 12,543.8, hitting its lowest since June-end.

The top percentage losers were Serko, down 3.4%, and Vista Group International, losing 2.8%.

Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.81% to 27,429.12, while S&P 500 E-minis futures were up 0.37%. ($1 = 1.3626 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

© Reuters 2022
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