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Banking stocks drag Australian shares lower; OZ Minerals surges

08/07/2022 | 09:11pm

Aug 8 (Reuters) - Australian shares slipped on Monday, pulled down by banking stocks, although a surge in OZ Minerals after the miner rejected a $5.7 billion unsolicited takeover proposal from BHP Group limited losses in the benchmark index.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.3% at 6,997.70 points, as of 0034 GMT. The benchmark ended 0.6% higher on Friday.

In other key markets, Japan's Nikkei fell 1.4% at 28,169.51 and S&P 500 E-minis futures edged 0.2% lower.

Lifting investor anxiety over aggressive rate hikes, data from the U.S. July employment report on Friday blasted past expectations, raising the odds of continued policy tightening from the Federal Reserve.

Back home, financials were among the top losers on the Australian bourse, shedding 0.2%. Three of the "Big Four" banks dropped between 0.2% and 0.6%.

Shares of Suncorp Group fell 3.3%, following a 37% drop in the insurer's full-year cash earnings.

Technology stocks tracked their Wall Street peers lower and lost 0.4%. Investment services provider Computershare and software maker Xero were down 0.9% each. On the upside, OZ Minerals soared 34.5%, and was on track to record its best day since April 2001, after it said BHP Group's takeover offer was "highly opportunistic", but significantly undervalued the nickel and copper miner.

Demand is growing for metals such as nickel and copper, key components in electric vehicle batteries and components.

Miners climbed 1.2% and were set to mark their highest level in more than a month on strong iron ore prices.

Shares of heavyweights BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals rose between 0.5% and 1.9%.

Energy stocks advanced 0.7% after oil prices settled higher on Friday, with Woodside Energy and Santos rising 0.9% and 0.4%, respectively.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.2% to 11,702.73 points.

($1 = 1.4482 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Upasana Singh; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

Reuters 2022
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