XIJ 1.95% 1,721.6 s&p/asx 200 information technology

News: XIJ Australia shares fall on second-wave coronavirus fears; NZ flat

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    • Whitehaven Coal top gainer with 12% jump
    • Afterpay among top pct losers
    • All major sub-indexes down for day

    Australian shares fell on Tuesday as a growing number of new coronavirus cases in the country's most populous state fanned fears of a second wave of infections.

    The S&P/ASX 200 index (xjo) fell 0.9% to 5,924.6 by 1236 GMT, erasing most of Monday's 1% gain.

    New South Wales reported on Monday 14 new cases of COVID-19 at a pub used by freight drivers, right on the heels of a surge in infections in the neighbouring Victoria state, which went back into lockdown last week.

    All major sub-indexes were down for the day, with technology stocks .AXIJ leading the decline. The tech sub-index dropped 2.7%, tracking a fall in U.S. peers led by titans including Amazon AMZN.O and Microsoft MSFT.O .

    Buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay Ltd (APT) was among the top percentage losers on the benchmark index with a drop of almost 5%.

    The gold sub-index .AXGD fell 2.5%, led by a 6.3% drop in Dacian Gold Ltd (DCN) , while Alacer Gold Corp (AQG) lost 5.6%.

    Among top performers, Whitehaven Coal (WHC) jumped about 12%, making it the biggest percentage gainer on the benchmark, after the company posted a 29% jump in quarterly coal production.

    Whitehaven Coal shares were also the most heavily traded by volume, with more than 6 million shares changing hands, about six times the 30-day average.

    In other news, Westpac Banking Corp (WBC) , Australia's second-largest lender, named Michael Rowland as its chief financial officer, six months after facing a major money-laundering scandal.

    Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index (nz50) inched up 0.03% to 11,438.36.

    The top percentage loser on the benchmark index was Pushpay Holdings (PPH) with a drop of 9%, while the top gainer was Investore Property (IPL) , up 3.2%.

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