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Australia shares fall as tech weighs, Melbourne extends lockdown

* Tech rout continues, sub-index hits over 3-week low

* CSL signs agreements for potential COVID-19 vaccines

* Melbourne lockdown extended to late Sept.

Sept 7 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell nearly a percent on Monday, following the previous session’s sell-off, after technology shares fell tracking their Wall Street peers on Friday and as Melbourne extended a coronavirus-led lockdown till late September.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.9% to 5,869.9 points by 0030 GMT on Monday, after it lost 3.1% in the previous session.

Technology stocks, the biggest percentage losers, fell 2.4% to hit their lowest level in more than three weeks.

Their losses follow the tech-heavy Nasdaq index’s 1.3% fall on Friday after investors dumped heavyweight technology stocks due to concerns about high valuations.

Compounding worries of an economic recovery, the hot spot state of Victoria on Sunday extended a hard lockdown in Australia’s second largest city due to a slower than hoped decline in its infection rate.

Victoria, which now accounts for about 75% of the country’s total infections of 26,282, reported 63 new cases and five more deaths on Sunday.

Among tech firms, the biggest decliners were buy now pay later firm Afterpay Ltd down 4% and software firm Xero Ltd lost 2.3%.

Heavyweight financials, down 1%, weighed the most on the index, with top lenders Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corp falling 1% and 0.4%, respectively.

In a bright spot, CSL rose 2.8% after the heavyweight biotech firm said it signed an agreement with the Australian government to produce an AstraZeneca and Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

CSL also signed an agreement with the government to supply 51 million doses of an alternative potential vaccine it is developing with the University of Queensland.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index swung between gains and losses. It was down 0.1% by 0049 GMT, with financials dragging the index.

Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel

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