* Eyes on U.S. presidential election, fresh COVID cases
* Australian tech stocks hit lowest close since Oct 9
* NZ index falls 1% on-week (Updates to close)
Oct 30 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended lower on Friday to post their worst week since April-end, as investors refrained from placing big bets ahead of the U.S. presidential election and on concerns that fresh lockdowns would derail global economic recovery.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.6% lower at 5,927.60, following a 0.3% slide on Thursday. The benchmark fell 3.9% this week, posting its biggest weekly drop since April 24.
Record numbers of coronavirus cases worldwide and the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election remained the major factors looming ahead for investors. On Wednesday, global coronavirus cases rose by over 500,000 for the first time as France and Germany prepped fresh lockdowns.
“The U.S. elections’ possible outcome and the length of delay in stimulus are at the forefront of the markets focus right now,” said Brad Smoling, managing director at Smoling Stockbroking.
“With a full moon rising and Halloween this weekend, it makes a good backdrop for anything to happen.”
Australian tech stocks tumbled 2% to its lowest close since Oct. 9, with fintech firm EML Payments Ltd losing 5.6% and machine learning company Appen Ltd shedding 3.8%.
The healthcare sub-index slid 1.2%, with industry major CSL Ltd declining 1.4% and Healius falling 3.4%. Bucking the sombre mood, financial stocks added 0.4% to the index after earlier marking their best day in more than two weeks, largely due to troubled wealth manager AMP Ltd’s 19.5% surge.
AMP saw its biggest session in 17 years and topped the benchmark after U.S.-based Ares Management Corp made a non-binding acquisition offer, which local media says could be valued about A$5 billion ($3.56 billion).
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slid 1% to 12,084.47, dragged by Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp’s 5.4% fall and Kathmandu Holdings’s 3.3% drop. The benchmark lost 1% on the week. (Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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