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Australian shares close nearly 1% lower on renewed recession fears

06/29/2022 | 03:53am

* Tech and gold stocks biggest laggards on ASX

* Recession fears keep investors on edge

* All major sectors except energy, banks in negative territory

June 29 (Reuters) - Australian shares snapped a four-day winning streak on Wednesday, as investors took cues from an overnight sell-off on Wall Street after dismal U.S. consumer confidence data crushed market optimism globally and stoked recession concerns.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.94% to 6,700.2 points at the close of trade, with most sectors in negative territory.

U.S. consumer confidence hit a 16-month low in June as worries about stubborn inflation left consumers to anticipate that the economy would slow significantly or even slide into recession in the second half of the year.

Investors, however, appeared to show scant response to upbeat Australian retail sales data, which suggested demand is proving resilient in the face of surging inflation and rising interest rates.

A turnaround in Australian banking stocks, with a 0.3% gain, helped the local bourse recoup some losses.

"Rising interest rates haven't dented Australia's appetite for department stores and cafés ... Ultimately the labour market remains strong, and as many Australians haven't endured a 'true recession', it is plausible to believe there is some complacency with RBA's rates still relatively low," City Index senior market analyst Matt Simpson said.

Local technology stocks skidded 2.8%, tracking a weak lead from tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index overnight.

ASX-listed shares of Block fell 6.2%, while accounting software producer Xero erased 6.4%.

Star Entertainment climbed 3.14% after the casino operator said it has appointed fintech firm Tyro Payments Chief Executive Officer Robbie Cooke as its new head and managing director.

Tyro Payments plunged 21.2% after the company said Cooke will serve six months' notice before he joins Star Entertainment.

Bucking the downward trend, energy heavyweights Woodside Energy and Santos advanced 3.1% and 1.9%, respectively, on upbeat oil prices.

Lithium miner Liontown Resources jumped 17.4% to mark its best day in more than four months after signing an offtake lithium supply deal with Ford Motor Co.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.54% to finish the session at 10,958.8 points.

(Reporting by Riya Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

© Reuters 2022
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