Australian shares track Wall Street declines; NZ flat

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Australian shares track Wall Street declines; NZ flat

* Technology, gold stocks fall most

* ASX trading volumes at about one-fifth of 30-day avg

* Newcrest Mining at near eight-month low

* NZ flat, pulling back from early gains

Dec 30 (Reuters) – Australian shares fell on Wednesday, tracking a slide in major Wall Street indexes overnight, as uncertainty over additional U.S pandemic aid dented broader market sentiment.

The S&P/ASX 200 index declined 0.9% by 0028 GMT. Trading volumes were around a fifth of their thirty-day average.

While the U.S House of Representatives voted for $2,000 coronavirus aid checks from the previously approved $600, doubts emerged if the Senate would authorise the checks. The uncertainty weighed on U.S. stocks overnight.

In Australia, technology stocks fell as much as 1.2%, with buy-now-pay-later firms Afterpay Ltd and Zip Co Ltd each losing more than 1.4%.

The heavyweight financial sub-index slipped 0.5%, with the “Big Four” banks losing between 0.1% and 0.28%.

Healthcare stocks also pulled back, with sector heavyweight CSL Ltd dipping 0.3%. Regenerative drugmaker Mesoblast fell as much as 1.7% and was the biggest loser on the sub-index.

The mining index fell as much as 0.6%, as Chinese iron ore futures tumbled 6% on expectations of a hit to demand from a recent cold spell and worries over a rise in virus cases in China.

Global miners Rio Tinto and BHP Group Ltd eased around 0.2%, while Fortescue Metals Group shed 0.5%.

Gold stocks were the session’s worst performers, declining nearly 2%, with top miner Newcrest Mining falling as much as 1.7% to hit its lowest since May 1.

Despite an uptick in oil prices, the energy index lost 1%. Index heavyweights Santos Ltd and Woodside Petroleum both fell as much as 0.8%.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index stood flat at 13,247.59, shedding small gains clocked earlier in the session.

Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

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