Australian shares end at 1-week low as global equity sell-off weighs

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  • Mining, energy indexes continue to soar
  • Broad weakness weighs on main index
  • Financials, tech top losers
  • Qantas among top percentage decliners

March 7 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed at a one-week low on Monday, as a global equity sell-off due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis dragged financials and technology stocks and outweighed sharp gains in the energy and mining sectors.

The S&P/ASX 200 index (.AXJO) ended 1% lower at 7,038.60 to mark a second straight session of loss.

Fears of a U.S. and European ban on Russian oil triggered a sharp rise in crude prices to their highest since 2008, raising worries of higher global inflation and a complicated policy landscape for central banks.

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Financials (.AXFJ) slumped 1.6% in their fourth straight day of losses, touching their lowest level since Jan. 27.

"European and EM (emerging markets) banks are facing elevated economic risk and that will weigh on banks globally," said Mathan Somasundaram, CEO of Deep Data Analytics.

The country's three largest lenders dropped between 1.2% and 2%, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA.AX) closed flat.

The technology sub-index (.AXIJ) slipped 4.7%, with ASX-listed shares of Block Inc leading the declines with a 10.3% plunge.

The sharp losses more than countered gains stemming from firmer commodity prices.

The Australian metals and mining sub-index (.AXMM) up by 1.4%. Fortescue Metals Group (FMG.AX) and BHP Group (BHP.AX) added 1.8% and 0.9%, respectively.

Domestic energy stocks (.AXEJ) jumped 5.3% and hit a two-year high.

Major oil and gas explorers Woodside Petroleum (WPL.AX) and Santos (STO.AX) surged 9.5% and 5.3%, respectively.

Firm bullion prices lifted gold stocks (.AXGD) by 5.4%, with Northern Star Resources (NST.AX) and Newcrest Mining (NCM.AX) gaining 6.1% and 5.2%.

Among individual shares, Qantas (QAN.AX) slid 7.9%.

Power producer AGL Energy fell 1.8% after it rejected a sweetened A$8.25 apiece takeover bid from a Brookfield-led consortium. read more

Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) fell slightly after it was fined by Australian authorities for breaching the country's continuous disclosure laws.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index (.NZ50) fell 1.9% to 11,913.27.

Dairy firm a2 Milk (ATM.NZ) dropped 2.2%, while Air New Zealand (AIR.NZ) lost 3.6%.

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Reporting by Upasana Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

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