Australian Shares Dip 0.8% as Ukraine Tensions Weigh

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Australian Shares Dip 0.8% as Ukraine Tensions Weigh
Credit: © Reuters.

By Oliver Gray - Australian shares fell 59.40 points or 0.82% to 7,174.20 in Tuesday’s midday deals, amid souring risk sentiment as investors eyed an evolving situation in Ukraine as Russian President Vladimir V. Putin signed a decree that allowed  troops to enter Donetsk and Luhansk for “peacekeeping functions,” while the U.S. and E.U. began imposing sanctions.

ASX 200 Futures were 0.04% higher.

Among stocks, local investors were tracking a fresh batch of corporate earnings, with Costa Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: CGC ) up 6% after reporting an annual 16.2% increase in profits, while Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL ) lifted 0.8% as results showed that half-year revenues increased by 1%, with profits down 2%.

Meantime, Hearing implant marker Cochlear Ltd (ASX: COH ) lifted 4.5% after announcing a 35% increase in its half-year dividend, while Alumina Ltd (ASX: AWC ) lost 0.5% despite a 28% surge in statutory profits.

Among sectors, Technology fell 3.23% as Block Inc (ASX: SQ2 ) dropped 6.58%, Zip Co Ltd (ASX: Z1P ) fell 7.17%, Appen Ltd (ASX: APX ) lost 2.7%, Megaport Ltd (ASX: MP1 ) fell 3.38%, Novonix Ltd (ASX: NVX ) lost 5.23%, Brainchip Holdings Ltd (ASX: BRN ) dipped 4.25% and Wisetech Global Ltd (ASX: WTC ) lost 4.53%.

However, Energy lifted on higher crude oil prices. Beach Energy Ltd (ASX: BPT ) added 2.03%, Santos Ltd (ASX: STO ) gained 1.67% and Woodside Petroleum Ltd (ASX: WPL ) added 2.09%.

Financials were 1.4% lower with Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG ) down 1.5%, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ASX: ANZ ) falling 0.89%, National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB ) losing 1.53%, Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC ) down 0.71% and Commonwealth Bank Of Australia (ASX: CBA ) dropping 1.93%.

Materials also dragged about 0.7% with Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX: RIO ) down 0.97%, BHP Billiton Ltd (ASX: BHP ) falling 0.77%, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX: FMG ) down 0.76%, Pilbara Minerals Ltd (ASX: PLS ) down 0.137%, Arizona Lithium Ltd (ASX: AZL ) falling 5.93% Avz Minerals Ltd (ASX: AVZ ) down 4.4% and Lake Resources NL (ASX: LKE ) shedding 3.21%.

However, some gold miners lifted as prices remain elevated. Gold Road Resources Ltd (ASX: GOR ) added 1.01%, Newcrest Mining Ltd (ASX: NCM ) was up 1.51%, Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST ) added 4.22% and Evolution Mining Ltd (ASX: EVN ) gained 2.13%.

On the bond markets, Australia 10-Year rates were at 2.182%, while United States 10-Year yields were at 1.873%.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 was just 0.07% higher at 12,164.

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