Australian shares fell nearly 2 per cent on the last trading day of 2019, but still racked up their best annual performance in a decade.
Broad-based losses pressured the S&P/ASX 200 index to fall 1.8 per cent to 6,684.1, its lowest close since Dec 5. The benchmark had slipped 0.3 per cent on Monday, but for the year, it gained 18.4 per cent.
Wall Street’s major indexes saw their biggest one-day percentage declines in about four weeks on Monday, as investors locked-in gains made this month after the United States and China reached an interim trade deal.
Australia and New Zealand markets closed early on Tuesday and Australia will resume trade on Thursday, Jan.2, while New Zealand will reopen the following day.
Aussie tech stocks tracked their US peers to drop 3 per cent and hit their lowest level in nearly three weeks.
Software firms WiseTech Global Ltd and Technology One Ltd were among the biggest losers on the main index, sliding 5.5 per cent and 6.2 per cent, respectively.
The heavyweight financial sub-index shed 1.3 per cent, with all of the Big Four banks closing in the red.
This year was tumultuous for the sector as multiple top banks faced constant allegations of being involved in wrongdoing that ranged from money laundering to deceiving customers by charging unnecessary fees.
Metals and mining index, another crucial component of the benchmark, fell 0.8 per cent, with mining behemoths BHP Group Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd dropping 1.3 per cent and 1.2 per cent, respectively.
Gold stocks were the sole gainers in the region, adding 1.3 per cent as bullion prices firmed.
Ramelius Resources Ltd jumped 6.5 per cent, while OceanaGold Corp rose 4.5 per cent.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index finished 0.6 per cent lower at 11,491.90. The benchmark surged 30.4 per cent this year, its best ever.
Top losers on the New Zealand benchmark were Ryman Healthcare and Sky Network Television, which lost 5.1 per cent and 2.7 per cent, respectively.
Source: Economic Times