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Qantas shares dip 5% amid new COVID-19 variant.

ASX200 falls; DigitalX rallies 4% on a new partnership; Qantas shares dip on new COVID-19 variant.

The ASX200 is trading 1.44% lower at 7300.80 after lunchtime.

DigitalX up 4% on new partnership agreement with Digital Finance CRC.

Qantas shares fall 5% on broad travel sell-off amid new COVID-19 variant.

The Australian market is trading sharply lower today, down 1.44% at 7300.80 after lunchtime with every sector trading in negative territory, led by energy stocks tumbling more than 3%.

Australian retail sales data for October released today showed a rise of 4.9% for the month, well above market expectations of a 2.2% increase, as NSW and VIC emerged from lockdowns.

The tech sector is trading more than 1% lower today, weighed down by Appen tanking 15.55%, Technology One trading 3.05% lower and Nearmap down 2.13%.

Bitcoin is trading 1.43% higher over the last 24-hours at US$58,412.72 at 1:30pm AEDT.

Blockchain-based software solutions company DigitalX is rallying 4% today after announcing a new partnership agreement with Digital Finance CRC. Under the deal, DigitalX will commit up to $2.5m in cash contributions over a 10-year period. DigitalX said the partnership provides the company with research teams to investigate and commercialise ideas that are relevant to our business and may be beyond what they could achieve on their own.

Making headlines, Qantas shares are trading 5% lower today amid a broad travel stock sell-off as reports circulate that a new COVID-19 variant is spreading across Europe. The World Health Organisation has called a special meeting to discuss a new COVID-19 variant found in South Africa that is spreading already to regions including Europe ahead of the busy holiday season.

And a new Australian restaurant called Karen’s Diner has gone viral for the wrong reasons as wait staff act ‘rude’ and ‘silly’ when delivering meals to tables, which some experts warn can create an unsafe, potentially dangerous environment if taken too far.

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