Stocks in Sydney kicked the week off with a fall of more than half a per cent in early trading on Monday - although that drop was less intense than some of the opening falls witnessed last week as volatility returned to global equities markets.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.6 per cent in early trading as a 0.1 per cent rise from the materials segment helped offset a 0.5 per cent drop by financials. It finished last week down 4.6 per cent, shedding 0.9 per cent on the day on Friday.

Wall Street closed out last week with a daily rise of 1.5 per cent by the S&P 500 but the benchmark index was still down 5.2 per cent for the week, the biggest five-day fall since January 2016.

Futures tip the Hang Seng for a sharper drop of 1 per cent when trading begins in Hong Kong on Monday, while traders in Tokyo are on holiday.

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