Australian stocks hit nearly two-month low amid concerns over Omicron variant

Nov. 29 (Reuters) – Australian stocks fell more than 1% to a nearly two-month low on Monday, extending losses to a second day in a row as concerns over cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus hitting the economic recovery triggered a wide sell-off.

The S & P / ASX 200 Index (.AXJO) fell 1.36% to 7,180.3, its lowest level since October 1, after falling 1.73% on Friday.

Australia confirmed two cases of the new Omicron variant on Sunday, jeopardizing plans to reopen the country, as a growing number of countries report the highly infectious strain and raising concerns about a threat to the recovery economic. Read more

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The three major U.S. indices posted their biggest single-day decline in months on Friday, as oil prices plunged $ 10 a barrel to mark their biggest single-day decline since April 2020.

Australian banks (.AXFJ) fell 2% to their lowest since late April, weighing the most on the benchmark.

The country’s “big four” lenders also fell, with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA.AX) and National Australia Bank (NAB.AX) each losing 2.2%.

Travel stocks fell to multi-month lows, with travel management companies Flight Center Travel Group (FLT.AX), Webjet (WEB.AX) and Corporate Travel Management (CTD.AX) losing 6% to 11%, while carrier Qantas Airways (QAN.AX) fell 6%.

Energy stocks (.AXEJ) were the biggest losers, falling as much as 4.7% to their lowest level since September 21.

Oil regained more than $ 3 at the start of Asian trade, but major oil companies including Woodside Petroleum (WPL.AX), Santos (STO.AX) and Oil Search (OSH.AX) lost between 5% and 7 %.

Countering subdued sentiment, lithium developer Vulcan Energy (VUL.AX) rose 3.2%, after signing a five-year supply agreement with Dutch automaker Stellantis NV (STLA.MI). Read more

New Zealand’s benchmark S & P / NZX 50 (.NZ50) lost 0.8% to 12,533.83 at 11:48 p.m. GMT.

Westpac and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group were the biggest losers in the index, while logistics company Mainfreight Ltd (MFT.NZ) lost more than 2%.

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Reporting by Harshita Swaminathan; Editing by Rashmi Aich

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Valerie J. Wallis