Mining, tech stocks drag Australia shares to 8-month low

Jan 24 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Monday in a sector-wide sell-off, dented by miners and technology stocks, as investors kept a cautious stance following a lower finish in Nasdaq amid fears of inflation and policy tightening by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO was down 0.7% at 7,123.2 points, as of 2331 GMT. The benchmark hit its lowest level since last May.

All main indexes on Wall Street ended sharply lower over the weekend as Netflix shares plunged after a weak earnings report that also weighed on rivals.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq .IXIC lost 2.7%, while the S&P 500 E-minis futures EScv1 were up 0.4%.

Investors are keenly focused Fed meeting this week for more clarity on the U.S. central bank's plans to tighten monetary policy in the coming months.

Back home, Australian tech stocks .AXIJ shed 2.5% to hit their lowest in more than eight months. EML Payments Ltd EML.AX slid 3.4% to its lowest level since Nov. 24.

The heavyweight metals and mining index .AXMM , which led losses on the benchmark, dropped more than 2.6%.

South32 Ltd S32.AX was down 8.1% in its worst intraday session since March 2020 after the diversified miner warned of potential coronavirus-related impact from workforce restrictions at its flagship Illawarra project in the second half.

Regis Resources Ltd RRL.AX was the biggest loser on the benchmark as shares fell 15.7% to their biggest one-day percentage loss since March 2015 after the company slashed its full-year outlook.

Gold miners .AXGD followed suit, losing 2.5% to post their worst session since Jan. 6, dragged by Northern Star Resources Ltd NST.AX , down 3.1%.

Energy stocks .AXEJ fell 1.4% on the back of weak oil prices, with power producer Origin Energy Ltd ORG.AX losing 2.8%

Financials .AXFJ also slid 1.4%, hitting their lowest since Dec. 2, weighed down by a 1.6% slump in major lender Australia and New Zealand Banking Group ANZ.AX .

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index .NZ50 fell 1.5% to 12,157.3 points.

Cancer diagnostics firm Pacific Edge Ltd PEB.NZ was the worst performer on the bourse, down 7.4%, hitting its lowest mark in eight months.

Reporting by Yamini C S; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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