Australia shares close lower weighed by gold, energy stocks

Australia shares close lower weighed by gold, energy stocks

Australian shares ended lower on Friday, hurt by losses in gold and energy stocks as prices of the underlying commodities declined, ahead of crucial earnings due next week.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.6 per cent to 6,806.7 at the close of trade. The benchmark was down 0.5 per cent for the week.

“Participants are taking some exposure off the board ahead of the risk event that the earnings season will be,” said Nick Twidale, chief executive officer of APAC at FP Markets.

Earnings from Australian heavyweights, including BHP Group , Rio Tinto and National Australia Bank , are scheduled for next week.

Risk sentiment was also weighed by news that the country’s second-most populous city Melbourne will enter a five-day snap coronavirus lockdown after the discovery of a fresh cluster.

“Investors are closely watching Melbourne… there could be an acceleration in correction next week if the cases keep rising,” Twidale added.

Among sectors, energy stocks fell 1.3 per cent as oil prices fell after OPEC cut its demand forecast and the International Energy Agency said the market was still over-supplied.

Oil & gas explorers Woodside Petroleum and Santos Ltd lost 1 per cent and 1.6 per cent, respectively.

Gold stocks fell 1.8 per cent, snapping four-straight sessions of gains, as prices of the precious metal was weighed by a stronger dollar. Top independent gold producer Newcrest Mining was down 1 per cent.

Global miners BHP Group and Rio Tinto fell 1.7 per cent and 1.2 per cent, weighing on the broader sector..

Meanwhile, shares of Crown Resorts fell as much as 2.1 per cent after the company said it was considering the position of its chief executive and as a third director resigned.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 1.3 per cent on Friday, dragged down by industrial and financial sectors. The index was down 3.6 per cent for the week.

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