Tech stocks, a2 Milk drag Australia shares lower ahead of U.S. inflation data

08/09/2022 | 09:12pm

Aug 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Wednesday, dragged down by losses in technology stocks ahead of the U.S. inflation data and a2 Milk after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deferred its request to import infant milk formula products into the United States.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.4% to 6,998.60 by 0031 GMT, with most sub-indexes down. The benchmark index closed 0.1% higher on Tuesday.

In other key markets, Japan's Nikkei fell 0.8% to 27,771.29 and S&P 500 E-minis futures edged 0.1% lower.

Investors closely eyed July U.S. consumer prices report that is expected to provide clues on any further aggressive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

In Australia and New Zealand, dairy producer a2 Milk was the top loser on both the benchmarks, slipping 7.2% and 6.9%, respectively.

Technology stocks tracked overnight losses in their Wall Street peers, slumping 3.6%, with investment services provider Computershare and software maker Xero sliding 4.8% and 4.4%, respectively.

The sub-index was set to mark its worst session since June 14.

Miners dropped 0.2% and were set to snap a three-session rally, as iron ore prices fell after fresh COVID-19 flare-ups in China and weak steel demand.

Fortescue Metals declined 0.2%, while Rio Tinto added 0.4%. Rival BHP Group was flat.

Financials inched 0.1% lower. Commonwealth Bank of Australia retreated 0.7% even as the country's biggest lender posted its highest annual cash earnings in four years.

The other three of the "Big Four" banks fell between 0.4% and 1.4%.

Among individual stocks, GrainCorp jumped 7.4% as the agribusiness firm raised its annual profit forecast for the second time.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.4% to 11,703.40.

(Reporting by Upasana Singh; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

Reuters 2022
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