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Shares dive as Delta wreaks havoc

·3-min read

Shares have had their second week in the past three of losses on the ASX as investors fret that the coronavirus Delta variant may hamper economic recovery.

The Aussie market fell by as much as 1.4 per cent on Friday before a late climb trimmed losses to less than one per cent.

Technology shares fared worst and dropped 2.84 per cent after the technology studded US indices pulled back from closing highs overnight.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 68.1 points, or 0.93 per cent, to 7273.3.

The All Ordinaries closed lower by 69.6 points, or 0.91 per cent, to 7545.3.

For the week, the ASX200 lost 0.48 per cent.

The index has shed 1.3 per cent over the past three weeks.

However it remains on a nine-month winning streak and is little more than 100 points from a record close.

AMP Capital head of investment strategy Shane Oliver said global share markets fell during the past week due to the resurgence of the coronavirus.

The Delta variant is proving particularly virulent in Asian nations such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

In Australia, people in Sydney and surrounds are about to enter a third week of lockdown.

"Investors are right to be concerned about another coronavirus scare and this could be the trigger for further share market falls," Mr Oliver said.

He said the number of people admitted to hospital, and any deaths, would determine whether longer, costly lockdowns were needed.

Mr Oliver noted bond yields had rallied this week as investors wondered if they had already reached maximum growth.

On the ASX, instalment payment providers were among the hardest hit technology shares.

Sezzle lost 8.49 per cent to $8.95. Zip fell by 5.47 per cent to $8.30 after gaining more than 13 per cent on Thursday.

Afterpay shed 4.97 per cent to $117.51.

Travel stocks also had notable losses as the prospect of flying in and out of Sydney anytime soon diminished.

The virus impact lowered Webjet shares by 5.47 per cent to $4.95.

Flight Centre lost 3.89 per cent to $15.30.

There were losses of more than one per cent for shares in consumer discretionaries, industrials and healthcare.

Market giant CSL lost 1.31 per cent to $275.47.

Viva Energy shares were up after the company reported a jump in first-half earnings.

Boss Scott Wyatt said figures across commercial and retail sales had been encouraging despite coronavirus lockdowns and border closures.

Shares were higher by 5.08 per cent to $2.07.

Audio visual equipment provider Audinate climbed after reporting fourth quarter US sales up 74 per cent.

The company said global supply difficulties for components, as well as COVID-19, remained risks.

Shares were higher by 6.73 per cent to $9.20.

The banks were all lower.

The Commonwealth fared worst of the big four and dropped 0.9 per cent to $98.59.

The big miners were mixed.

Fortescue was better by 0.67 per cent to $23.87.

BHP and Rio Tinto ended down by less than one per cent.

The Australian dollar was buying 74.35 US cents at 1727 AEST, lower from 75.51 US cents at Thursday's close.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 68.1 points, or 0.93 per cent, to 7273.3 on Friday.

* The All Ordinaries closed lower by 69.6 points, or 0.91 per cent, to 7545.3.

* At 1727 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was up by eight points, or 0.11 per cent, to 7194.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 74.35 US cents, from 75.51 cents on Thursday

* 81.80 Japanese yen, from 81.76 yen

* 62.81 Euro cents, from 62.99 cents

* 53.97 British pence, from 54.01 pence

* 107.01 NZ cents, from 106.69 cents.

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