Australian Stocks Drop as Wildfire Crisis Persists

Australia’s deadly bushfire crisis is affecting some of the nation’s biggest companies including dairy producer Bega Cheese Ltd. and airline Qantas Airways Ltd.

Bega led declines on the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index on Monday after the company said fires have impacted a number of employees and dairy farm suppliers in New South Wales’ Bega Valley region. Shares plunged 9.3% in Sydney trading, the most since Oct. 29.

Qantas shares tumbled after the airline canceled several flights via Canberra on Sunday due to bushfire smoke. The stock dropped 2.6%.

Produce company Costa Group Holdings Ltd. declined for a second day after Vitalharvest, which leases citrus and berry assets exclusively to Costa Group, said on Friday that the fires burning in southern New South Wales have affected its Tumbarumba berry farm. Costa Group shares slid 3.2%.

Bushfires in Victoria’s East Gippsland have delayed work on Cooper Energy’s Sole Gas Project for an estimated two weeks, the company said in a statement on Monday. Shares fell 3.2%.

Aspen Group Ltd., which operates tourism and caravan parks, said its properties haven’t been damaged by the fires but that business is being “materially impacted” during the peak holiday season at its two properties on the south coast of New South Wales. The company expects revenue and net operating income from both properties to take a hit of at least A$500,000 ($347,250), according to a statement on Monday. The stock dropped 0.4%

Source: Bloomberg

 Trader Martin Nikolov

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