Australia shares edge lower as tech stocks weigh, Origin Energy top loser

July 30 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell slightly on Friday as losses in tech names overshadowed gains in mining and gold stocks, while Origin Energy dropped to the bottom of the benchmark index after issuing a grim outlook for its core earnings.

The S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO was down nearly 0.1% to 7,407.9 by 0112 GMT. It was on track for a small weekly gain, its third in a row.

Origin Energy ORG.AX fell as much as 8.1% after the power and gas retailer said it expected a A$2.25 billion ($1.66 billion) charge in fiscal 2021 and forecast lower core earnings in its energy markets business for the next two years.

While Origin Energy was the biggest loser on the benchmark index, rival AGL Energy AGL.AX declined as much as 4% to hit a record low.

Tech stocks .AXIJ fell more than 1.7% and were the biggest losers on the benchmark. Sector heavyweights Afterpay APT.AX and Xero XRO.AX shed 2.9% and 0.5%, respectively .

Energy stocks .AXEJ were down 0.5% with Santos STO.AX and Oil Search OSH.AX falling 0.6% and 0.8%, respectively.

Among gainers, heavyweight miners .AXMM rose 1% on the back of strong copper prices, extending gains into a second session and hitting a record high.

Rio Tinto RIO.AX , BHP Group BHP.AX and Fortescue Metals FMG.AX climbed between 0.2% and 1.5%.

Gold stocks .AXGD advanced more than 0.7% on firmer bullion prices. Newcrest Mining NCM.AX and Northern Star Resources NST.AX were up 1.4% and 1.5%, respectively.

Investors were also worried about a spike in COVID-19 cases, which prompted authorities to extend a lockdown in the most populous state of New South Wales.

Financials .AXFJ were up 0.6% with the big four banks gaining between 0.3% and 1%.

New Zealand's S&P NZX/50 .NZ50 index was down 0.4%, with A2 Milk ATM.NZ and Fletcher Building FBU.NZ being the biggest drags. ($1 = 1.3523 Australian dollars)
Reporting by Tejaswi Marthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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