Australian Shares Trade Lower as Covid Fears Hit Sentiment

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Australian Shares Trade Lower as Covid Fears Hit Sentiment
Credit: © Reuters.

By Oliver Gray

Investing.com -

The S&P/ASX 200 fell 34.20 points or 0.46% to 7,373.10 on Friday, down 0.4% for the week, as investors turned focus soaring coronavirus cases across Europe as Wall Street remained closed for its Thanksgiving holiday.

ASX 200 Futures were trading 0.65% lower.

Coronavirus infections are breaking records in parts of Europe, prompting fresh lockdown restrictions as the continent finds itself at the epicentre of the pandemic once again. Austria reintroduced a full national lockdown despite protests, while France said that face masks will become compulsory again in many places and notably indoors to help contain a new wave of infections. Meantime, researchers are monitoring a fresh coronavirus variant detected in South Africa containing more than 30 changes to the spike protein, which could have implications for vaccine efficacy and transmissibility.

Among stocks, heavyweight miners were lower, with Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX: RIO ) down 0.94%, BHP Billiton Ltd (ASX: BHP ) losing 0.54% and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX: FMG )down 1.57%.

Major airlines were also lower as covid fears impacted travel prospects, with Qantas Airways Ltd (ASX: QAN ) losing 3.02%, Flight Centre Ltd (ASX: FLT ) down 3.56% and Webjet Ltd (ASX: WEB ) falling 3.1%.

Oil-related stocks were also trading lower, as Oil Search Ltd (ASX: OSH ) fell 1.18%, Santos Ltd (ASX: STO ) dipped 0.88%, Woodside Petroleum Ltd (ASX: WPL ) fell 0.66% and Beach Energy Ltd (ASX: BPT ) shed 1.59%.

On the bond markets, Australia 10-Year rates plummeted 316 basis points to 1.81%, while United States 10-Year yields also dipped to 1.588%.

Investors will also be closely monitoring retail sales data due this morning.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 was down 0.72% to 12,703.

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