XFJ 0.36% 6,729.0 s&p/asx 200 financial

News: XFJ Australian shares slide on rising COVID-19 cases; tech stocks drag

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    June 1 (Reuters) - Australian stocks slid on Tuesday as rising COVID-19 cases in the state of Victoria dented sentiment, with investors eyeing a rate decision by the country's central bank later in the day.

    The benchmark ASX 200 index (xjo) shed 0.4% to 7,135.2 by 0012 GMT, having closed 0.2% lower on Monday.

    Australia's second-most populous state Victoria added nine new local COVID-19 cases on Tuesday after state authorities called the situation "incredibly serious".

    The focus now shifts to the Reserve Bank of Australia's policy review meeting, where it is expected to hold rates at record low for a sixth straight time.

    Among sectors, tech stocks .AXIJ were the worst hit, losing over 1% in their biggest one-day fall in nearly two weeks. Buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay Ltd (APT) shed 2.3%.

    Financials .AXFJ eased 0.6% with the "big four" banks losing between 0.4% and 0.7%.

    Gold stocks .AXGD followed suit, declining 0.6% even as prices were on course for their biggest monthly jump since July 2020.

    Gold miners Newcrest Mining Ltd (NCM) and Northern Star Resources Ltd (NST) shed 0.4% and 0.9%, respectively.

    However, heavyweight mining stocks .AXMM were up nearly 1%, hitting their highest level in nearly two weeks, as iron ore futures surged.

    Mining titans Rio Tinto (RIO) and BHP Group (BHP) added 1.3% and 1.1%, respectively.

    Meanwhile, Nine Entertainment Co Holdings (NEC) jumped 4% to be among the top gainers on the benchmark after announcing multi-year content-supply deals with Google GOOGL.O and Facebook FB.O .

    Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index (nz50) was largely unchanged, trading down 0.1% to 12,308.3.

    Freight gateway operator Port of Tauranga Ltd (POT) was the top loser on the bourse, shedding about 2%.

    In other markets, Japan's Nikkei .N225 was up 0.02% at 28,866.14 and S&P 500 E-minis futures EScv1 were down 3.5 points, or 0.08%.

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