By Oliver Gray
Investing.com - The S&P/ASX 200 dropped 23.50 points or 0.32% to 7,400.40 in Thursday’s deals, extending declines for the third consecutive session amid higher than expected unemployment figures as more people looked for work ahead of coronavirus lockdowns easing, while inflation in the U.S. rose to 31-year highs on an annual basis amid surging food and fuel prices.
Among stocks, Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Ltd (ASX: NEC ) closed 3.38% higher after reporting strong gains in television advertising at its annual general meeting. Financials retreated with Commonwealth Bank Of Australia (ASX: CBA ) down 1.84% National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB ) losing 1.69% and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ASX: ANZ ) falling 0.14%. Technology stocks were also hit, as Zip Co Ltd (ASX: Z1P ) plunged 5.07%, Afterpay Touch Group Ltd (ASX: APT ) dropped 2.25% and Xero Ltd (ASX: XRO ) dipped 6.04%. Mining heavyweights gained despite Iron ore prices trading at near 3-year lows, with Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX: RIO ) gaining 2.15%, BHP Billiton Ltd (ASX: BHP ) lifting 2.32%. Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX: FMG ) gained 8.47% this afternoon following a deal to supply green hydrogen to U.S. company Universal Hydrogen. Gold miners also provided a bright spot, with Evolution Mining Ltd (ASX: EVN ) gaining 4.56%, Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST ) up 4.54% and Chalice Gold Mines Ltd (ASX: CHN ) surging 9.31% and lifting for the third consecutive session.
Among data, the national unemployment rate jumped to a 6-month high of 5.2% in October, with New South Wales and Victoria suffering the biggest hits amid protracted lockdowns, while the national participation rate slightly increased for the first time since June.
In New Zealand, the NZX 50 closed flat at 13,027.
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