ASX lower, banks and energy shares lag

Losses for the banks and energy providers have pulled the Australian share market lower to start the week.

Three of the big four banks were down a little more than one per cent each on Monday after US markets closed lower last week.

Analysts said there were fears more European countries could follow Austria in introducing new coronavirus lockdowns as infections rise.

Westpac fared worst of the big ASX banks and dropped 1.78 per cent to $21.74. NAB managed best and shed 0.89 per cent to $28.31.

Energy stocks also struggled after Japan joined countries willing to try and lower oil prices.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the weekend signalled he was ready to help counter soaring oil prices following a US request for nations to release oil from emergency stockpiles.

A barrel of Brent crude was trading at $US78.27 at 1200 AEDT.

Beach Energy dropped more than three per cent. Woodside and Oil Search each lost more than two per cent.

Shares in materials, healthcare and consumer staples improved and helped offset some losses.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 22.5 points, or 0.30 per cent, to 7374 points.

The All Ordinaries was lower by 19.7 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 7710.2 points.

The big miners were all higher. BHP was little changed at $36.45. Fortescue was up 1.87 per cent to $15.76. Rio Tinto climbed 1.27 per cent to $91.40.

AMP Capital has beaten rival proposals to retain its role managing a wholesale office fund.

The AMP Capital Wholesale Office Fund allows corporate investors to put their money in Sydney and Melbourne office properties.

Shares were up 1.76 per cent to $1.15.

Energy group APA has made a move to possibly buy a battling operator in Tasmania.

Basslink, which owns and operates an electricity interconnector between Victoria and Tasmania, entered voluntary administration this month.

APA may work with the receivers after taking an interest in $99 million of debt.

Shares were up about half a per cent to $9.19.

Meridian Energy will sell its Australian business for $729 million.

Shell Energy will take on the retail business called Powershop Australia, while Infrastructure Capital Group will own assets including wind farms and hydro power stations.

Meridian shares were down 2.68 per cent to $4.35.

Shareholders have launched a class action against data analytics software vendor Nuix.

The investors claim they were misled on sales forecasts for the 2021 financial year. They have not asked for a specific amount of damages.

Nuix will defend the claim.

Shares were up 0.71 per cent to $2.81.

The Australian dollar was buying 72.30 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 72.75 US cents at Friday’s close.

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