By Oliver Gray
Investing.com - The ASX 200 fell 40.5 points or 0.54% to 7396.8 in early trades on Wednesday, reversing slight gains of 0.16% in the previous session as energy and mining stocks fell, while healthcare and information technology traded higher.
On the coronavirus front, New South Wales added 1259 new cases today, as Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced that the curfew on the 12 local government areas of concern will lift tonight as the state reached an 80% single-dose vaccination rate. Victoria reported 423 fresh cases with Premier Daniel Andrews set to reveal details for the plan out of lockdown on Sunday as the state surges toward its first dose vaccination target.
Among stocks, oil stocks fell, with Santos Ltd (ASX: STO ) down 2.39%, Woodside Petroleum Ltd (ASX: WPL ) down 1.15%, Oil Search Ltd (ASX: OSH ) down 1.9% and Beach Energy Ltd (ASX: BPT ) down 2.96%. Miners were also lower as Iron ore prices extended losses overnight, with Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX: RIO ) down 1.65% and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX: FMG ) falling 1.05%. BHP Billiton Ltd (ASX: BHP ) also traded 2.49% lower after announcing the expansion of its existing goals to lower its indirect carbon footprint, known as Scope 3 emissions, by requiring suppliers and shippers to be carbon-neutral by 2050.
Among data, the Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment index released on Wednesday rose 2.0% in September, partially recouping a 4.4% drop in August. Westpac chief economist Bill Evans noted that “The resilience of consumer sentiment in a period when Australia’s two major cities have been locked down and the economy has been contracting is truly remarkable.”
In New Zealand, the NZX 50 fell 39.37 points or 0.3% to 13069.24.
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