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Aussie shares are off to a sluggish start, with most sectors in the red and the ASX 200 down by 0.5 per cent. Keep in mind this is following Monday’s 1.84 per cent jump; the market’s best daily improvement of the year thanks to some encouraging outcomes from the weekend’s G20 Summit. This morning’s losses highlights a degree of caution in markets ahead of a more permanent trade solution between the US and China.
The Reserve Bank (RBA) meets for the final time of the year this afternoon and is widely expected to keep the cash rate on hold for a 28th straight month. Economists will still sift through the accompanying one-page statement released at 2.30pm AEDT for any new insights from the central bank.
Metcash (MTS) is down 8.3 per cent. The distributor of products to IGA flagged a tough outlook for the industry yesterday and has received a number of broker downgrades this morning.
Coles (COL) recently split from Wesfarmers (WES) and has now extended its losing streak to six straight days. COL is down 8.5 per cent from its opening price on 21 November.
Retail stocks are losing ground despite a weekly survey highlighting robust consumer confidence thanks to cheaper petrol prices in many capital cities. The average price of unleaded petrol is down 26 cents per litre from the recent highs. Kogan (KGN), Myer (MYR) and JB Hi-Fi (JBH) are all down.
The price of oil shot up by 4 per cent last night on hopes major oil producers could cut production at a key OPEC meeting this Thursday. This has not translated to gains in energy stocks today however the sector was the clear standout on Monday.
Mining stocks are mixed and are only being held up by BHP Billiton (BHP) and the larger gold producers. There is insufficient optimism in the market to replicate the substantial gains enjoyed by iron ore stocks yesterday.
Austal (ASB) is up 1 per cent after the shipbuilder signs a $97.7m contract with the Government of Trinidad & Tobago to build a 94 metre high speed ferry. The vessel will be built at its new shipyard in Vietnam (opened last month).
998.1m shares have changed hands so far today worth just $1.6bn. 408 stocks are up, 500 down and 326 are flat. 
Published by CommSec