Tech and Banks Pull Australian Stocks Down; Ardent Leisure takes off

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Australian shares ended in the red on Thursday, hurt by tech stocks and rate-sensitive banks as investors fret over the central bank’s adoption of tighter monetary policy, while Ardent Leisure reported jumped on a deal to offload its American division.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 0.63% at 7442.8 points, extending losses for the second consecutive session.

Asian stocks also fell, alongside a global selloff, as markets spooked by more aggressive noise from US policymakers about the need for tougher policy.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) had opened the doors to the first interest rate hike in more than a decade, while recent US Federal Reserve meeting minutes hinted at a more aggressive stance on rate hikes.

“The RBA has also raised its own expectations for the federal funds rate following recent data releases and strong rhetoric from FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) members, including Chairman Powell,” the analysts said. of Westpac in a note.

Australian tech shares slid 3.4%, leading to losses on the benchmark, with ASX-listed shares of Block Inc falling 4.7%.

Wisetech Global and Novonix fell nearly 6% each and were among the biggest losers in the tech sub-index.

Financials lost as much as 1.1%, with the Big Four falling nearly 1% each.

“The global trend that was driven by the FOMC is obviously still prevalent in Australian markets,” said Jessica Ren, rates market strategist at Westpac.

The energy sub-index also fell 1.3%, following an overnight drop in oil prices after member states of the International Energy Agency agreed to release 120 million barrels of strategic reserves in an attempt to suppress price gains.

Sector heavyweights Woodside Petroleum fell 2.5% while Santos slipped 1.4%.

Shares of Ardent Leisure, however, jumped 6.2% after the company announced it would sell its US entertainment business to restaurant chain operator Dave & Buster’s Entertainment for $835 million. of dollars.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed at 12075.91 points.

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