The Australian share market finished session lower on Monday, 11 January 2021, snapping two straight days of gains, amid worries about the rising coronavirus cases in New South Wales. At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 fell 60.71 points, or 0.9%, to 6,697.16. The broader All Ordinaries shed 64.70 points, or 0.92%, to 6,959.54.
Shares of gold miners extended losses after gold prices settled at their lowest since mid-December on Friday. Hopes of fiscal support, along with prospects for a smooth transition of power in Washington, have taken the shine off safe-haven assets such as gold. Evolution Mining lost more than 5% and Newcrest Mining was lower by more than 4%.
Lenders were mixed.
In the banking sector, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ Banking were lower in a range of 0.2% to 0.3%, while Westpac edged up 0.1%.
Miners were mixed. Among the major miners, Rio Tinto fell more than 1% and Fortescue Metals was lower by 0.3%, while BHP Group added 0.2%.
Energy stocks jumped, with oil prices near a one-year high after Saudi Arabia's pledge last week to cut output. Among oil stocks, Woodside Petroleum added 3%, meanwhile Santos rose almost 4% and Oil Search rose more than 1%.
In economic news, Australia Retail Sales Up 7.1% On Month In November- Australia retail sales was up a seasonally adjusted 7.1% on month in November, coming in at A$31.654 billion, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Monday, following the 1.4% gain in October. Individually, food retailing was down 0.3% on month, while household goods retailing jumped 12.7%, clothing sales spiked 26.7%, department store sales jumped 21.1%, other retailing gained 7.9% and restaurant retailing was up 6.7%. On a yearly basis, the value of sales rose 13.3%.
CURRENCY NEWS: The Australian dollar was at $0.7707 following levels above $0.78 seen last week.
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