June 15, 2020 / 1:37 AM / a month ago

Australia shares fall on fears of fresh virus wave; New Zealand stocks rise

* Beijing reports spike in new coronavirus cases

* Healius Ltd rises after sale of a division

* NZ shares on track to snap four sessions of losses

By Soumyajit Saha

June 15 (Reuters) - Australian stocks fell on Monday, as the risk sentiment suffered due to a spike in the number of new coronavirus cases amid easing of lockdowns across the world.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.4% to 5,825.2 in early trade and was on track to lose for the third straight session. The index has slipped 12.5% so far this year.

Worries of a second wave of coronavirus infections have spiked after new cases sprung up in Beijing, while the threat of another surge in cases in the United States also looms.

Heavyweight financial stocks fell 0.3%, with three of the “big four” banks trading in the red.

The metals and mining index also lost 0.52%, with Fortescue Metals Group losing over 2%.

On Friday, the U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.90%, the S&P 500 gained 1.31%, while Nasdaq advanced or 1.01%.

The ASX All Ordinaries Gold index fell 0.49%, led by AngloGold Ashanti Ltd losing 2.44%. It was followed by Evolution Mining Ltd, dropped 1.73%.

The number of issues on the ASX that advanced were 537, while 391 declined as a 1.4-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

Healius Ltd jumped 13% and was the biggest gainer on the benchmark after the medical centre operator said it will sell its primary care business for $342 million.

Meanwhile in New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 rose 0.5% to 10,960.6.

Utilities company Meridian Energy gained 0.7%, while telecom firm Spark New Zealand rose 1.3%. (Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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