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Australia Stocks fall as tensions with China mount

Capital Market 

The Australian share market finished session lower on Friday, 11 September 2020, on following negative overnight session on Wall Street, rising geopolitical tensions with China, and uncertainty over easing of coronavirus-led curbs soon after state leaders defended regional lockdowns and internal border closures.

At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index declined 49.12 points, or 0.83%, to 5,859.40. The broader All Ordinaries dropped 51.07 points, or 0.84%, to 6,038.90.

Risk sentiments dented on souring diplomatic ties with biggest trading partner China, with Beijing accusing the Australian embassy in China of obstructing law enforcement by sheltering two journalists wanted for questioning. Also weighing on sentiment, Australia's conservative government clashed with state lawmakers on Thursday over how fast to relax social distancing restrictions, as the number of new Covid-19 cases showed a steady decline.

Victoria, which now accounts for about 75% of the country's infections, reported 43 new cases on Friday, down from 51 a day earlier.

Shares of materials and gold players declined as iron ore prices slipped on weaker Chinese mill demand, while the bullion weakened after the US dollar strengthened. BHP fell 1.2% and Fortescue Metals Group retreated 3.1%. The world's biggest iron ore miner Rio Tinto ended 0.6% lower after its chief executive and two senior executives stepped down, giving in to mounting shareholder pressure following the miner's destruction of two significant Aboriginal rockshelters.

Technology stocks followed the Nasdaq lower. Afterpay fell 2.3% on Friday and 5.5% over the week on concerns about PayPal's plans to launch a rival buy now pay later product in the US.

CURRENCY NEWS: The Australian dollar was at $0.7275 after falling yesterday from levels above $0.73.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Fri, September 11 2020. 13:41 IST