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The Australian sharemarket is off to a cautious start following Monday’s 2.6 per cent surge and ahead of the RBA Board meeting and tonight’s Federal Budget. Despite yesterday’s improvements (best day in four months), it was done on very light volumes due to half the country being on holiday.

President Trump has left hospital despite being diagnosed with COVID-19 only days ago. The White House
physician said the President’s condition has ‘continued to improve’ over the past 24 hours, although risks still remain in coming days.

Victoria recorded 15 newly identified COVID-19 cases while NSW has reported no recent locally acquired cases for an 11th day.

Northern Star (NST) and Saracen (SAR) are both up by ~7 per cent after agreeing to a $16bn merger. SAR
shareholders to receive 0.3763 Northern Star shares for each Saracen share held at the Scheme record date (~February 2021). Saracen will also pay a special fully franked dividend of 3.8c.

Select Harvests (SHV) is up 15 per cent as it resumes trade following two days in a trading halt. The almond grower has successfully raised $81.7m from its Institutional Offer at a price of $5.20 per New Share. The raising will enable SHV to grow.

BHP will acquire an additional 28 per cent working interest in Shenzi, a development in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The acquisition would add approximately 11,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of production (90 per cent of oil).

The Star Entertainment Group (SGR) said it will not pay cash dividends until gearing is lowered. The casino operator last paid a dividend in early July. Will not pay a final dividend.

Baby Bunting (BBN) has announced a 17 per cent lift in comparable store sales. Excluding Melbourne metro stores, sales have grown by 28.5 per cent. Online sales surged by 126 per cent over the first quarter. BBN shares are up 4.4 per cent.

2.5bn shares have changed hands so far worth a light $2.3bn. 710 stocks are up, 400 down and 411 are flat.

Publised by CommSec