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Australian Market Significantly Lower

The Australian stock market is significantly lower on Wednesday, giving up the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 7,200 level, following the broadly negative cues overnight from Wall Street, after Australia confirmed the first case of the Omicron variant, stoking fears of new restrictions.

The doubts that existing vaccines will be less effective against the Omicron also weighed on sentiment.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's comments that the recent surge in new Covid-19 cases and the emergence of the Omicron variant pose downside risks to employment and economic activity as well as increased uncertainty for inflation also added to the woes.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 64.00 points or 0.88 percent to 7,192.00, after hitting a low of 7,183.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 71.40 points or 0.94 percent to 7,516.00. Australian stocks ended slightly higher on Tuesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group is edging up 0.2 percent and Rio Tinto is gaining almost 1 percent, while OZ Minerals and Fortescue are flat. Mineral Resources is losing more than 2 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly lower. Woodside Petroleum is losing almost 1 percent and Santos is down more than 1 percent, while Origin Energy and Beach energy are declining more than 2 percent each. Oil Search is rising almost 2 percent.

In the tech space, WiseTech Global is losing almost 2 percent, Xero is down almost 1 percent and Afterpay is declining almost 2 percent, while Appen is gaining more than 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking is losing almost 1 percent, while National Australia Bank, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank are edging down 0.3 percent each.

Among gold miners, Newcrest Mining is declining almost 2 percent and Gold Road Resources is losing more than 2 percent, while Evolution Mining and Northern Star Resources are edging down 0.5 percent each. Resolute Mining is edging up 0.5 percent.

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