Australian shares dragged lower by financials, tech stocks



Jan 20 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell for a third straight session on Thursday, hurt by financials and tech sectors following a weak finish overnight on Wall Street, while resource-related stocks jumped on robust commodity prices.

The S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO was down 0.3% at 7,332.5 points by 2355 GMT.

Wall Street's main indexes ended sharply lower, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq confirming it was in correction territory after a diverse set of corporate earnings.

Local tech stocks .AXIJ tracked their U.S. peers lower by falling over 1% to their lowest since May 21, with software firm Altium Ltd ALU.AX dropping 3.4% to be one of the worst performers on the bourse.

Sector heavyweight Afterpay Ltd APT.AX was suspended from trading on the ASX 200 on Jan. 19 after its buyout by Block Inc SQ.N became effective following receipt of all regulatory approvals.

Financials .AXFJ dropped to their lowest level in nearly a month, losing over 1%, with major banks Commonwealth Bank of Australia CBA.AX and National Australia Bank Ltd NAB.AX shedding about 1.4% to 1.7%.

Energy stocks .AXEJ also declined 0.8%, with Woodside Petroleum WPL.AX and Santos Ltd STO.AX falling 1.7% and 0.6%, respectively, even after the country's top 2 independent gas producers posted strong quarterly numbers.

The gold sub-index .AXGD , however, advanced more than 6%, headed for its biggest jump since June 2020 after bullion prices rose on a weaker dollar.

Evolution Mining Ltd EVN.AX and Northern Star Resources Ltd NST.AX were one of the top gainers on both the ASX 200 and the gold sub-index, jumping about 9% each.

Miners .AXMM were up 1.1%, with top iron ore miner BHP Group BHP.AX rising about 1.4%.

Global lithium supplier Vulcan Energy Resources VUL.AX added 1.2% on expecting to be formally admitted to the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in the first half of February.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index .NZ50 slid 1.6% to 12,612.3, with energy retailer Mercury NZ MCY.AX leading losses with its 2.6% fall.

In other markets, the S&P 500 E-minis futures EScv1 were down 7.75 points, or 0.2%.
Reporting by Yamini C S in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

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