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Market Cap £1.51bn
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Revenue £494.0m
Position in Universe 176th / 1911

Australia shares falter as COVID-19 cases, U.S.-China tensions rise

Tue 14th July, 2020 7:54am
* Afterpay leads tech sector's drop
    * Gold prices fall on firmer dollar
    * Analyst warns of downgrade cycle if NSW locked down

 (Updates to close)
    By Nikhil Subba
    July 14 (Reuters) - Australian shares settled lower on
Tuesday as rising coronavirus cases in the country's most
populous state and simmering Sino-U.S. tensions spooked
    The S&P/ASX 200 index  .AXJO  finished 0.61% lower at
5,941.10, with the technology sector leading the retreat after
U.S. tech giants, including Amazon  AMZN.O  and Microsoft
 MSFT.O , fell overnight. The benchmark index gained almost 1%
on Monday.
    New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, on Monday
reported 14 new COVID-19 cases, on the heels of a surge in
infections in neighbouring Victoria that forced it back into
lockdown last week.*:nL3N2EK12G
    "Market has V shape recovery (expectation) for Q3 and that
is not going to happen with VIC (Victoria) in lockdown," said
Mathan Somasundaram, market portfolio strategist at Blue Ocean
    "If NSW (New South Wales) goes into lockdown, it will be a
big downgrade cycle."
    Weighing on investor sentiment, tensions grew between the
United States and China. The United States on Monday rejected
China's disputed claims to offshore resources in most of the
South China Sea, a move that Beijing criticised as inciting
tensions in the region.*:nL2N2EK1IX 
    "U.S.-China tensions around COVID and now China's claims
over the South China Sea could hurt the Phase-1 trade pact and
make things much more difficult for potential further deals,"
said CommSec market analyst James Tao.
    Technology stocks  .AXIJ  fell 4% to a near two-week low. 
Buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay Ltd  APT.AX  declined 7.23%,
making it one of the top losers on the benchmark index, while
Megaport Ltd  MP1.AX  lost 6.67%.
    Gold stocks  .AXGD  fell 2.32% as bullion prices were hit by
a stronger dollar. Emerald Resources NL  EMR.AX  declined 
7.94%, while Alacer Gold Corp  AQG.AX  shed 6.17%.     
    In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index  .NZ50  rose 0.52% to
    Among top gainers on the New Zealand benchmark, Sanford Ltd
 SAN.NZ  rose 4.43%, while Chorus Ltd  CNU.NZ  added 3.85%.

 (Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru;)
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