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Australian shares end lower as miners, tech stocks weigh

08/12/2022 | 03:04am

* ASX records fourth straight weekly gain

* Energy stocks only gainers on ASX

* NZ central bank will stick to 50 bps rate hike - poll

Aug 12 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed lower on Friday as sentiment turned sour due to worries around the U.S. Federal Reserve's rate-hike stance, although the benchmark index recorded its fourth straight weekly gain helped by its 0.24% rise for the week.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.5% lower at 7,032.5 after jumping more than 1% on Thursday.

Australian equities tracked declines in global markets after a Fed official said that the central bank was open for a possibility of a 75 basis point increase in rates even after the softer-than-expected inflation data in July.

"Fed members are continuing to talk a hawkish game and that has weighed on sentiment for equity traders. But we've reached that stage of the year where price action is choppy and its direction can be fickle" said Matt Simpson, market analyst at City Index.

Miners fell 0.8% as iron ore futures slumped on demand worries in top steel producer China.

Heavyweights BHP and Fortescue lost 0.8% and 0.7%, respectively.

Technology stocks dropped 2%, marking its worst week since June 17. ASX-listed shares of Block Inc dropped 4%.

Energy shares were the only gainers, jumping 2.3%. The sub-index saw its best week since June 10.

Oil and gas major Woodside Energy and Santos advanced 3.7% and 0.8% respectively.

Coal explorer Stanmore Resources soared nearly 11% as it said it would buy the remaining 20% stake in a metallurgical coal venture in Queensland from Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co for $380 million.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.25% lower at 11,730.52.

Looking ahead, investors' focus is on central bank action. A Reuters poll showed the Reserve Bank of New Zealand will stick to hike interest rate by 50 basis point in its most aggressive tightening in over two decades. (Reporting By Navya Mittal in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

Reuters 2022
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