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The Aussie market is trading lower at lunch on Thursday with the ASX 200 sliding 64 points 1.2% at 5357. Local shares opened weaker, down 79 points, following a soft lead from Wall Street with major US indices falling by as much as 2.1% on comments from the US Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, warning of a potential extended period of weak economic growth out of the US due to COVID19.

Losses have been broad based with nearly every sector weaker. Financials have been the major drag on the market with the big four banks all weaker by 2%. Commonwealth Bank (CBA) falling most with a 3.2% decline. Energy, property and healthcare are also weighing but materials and utilities are both advancing slightly. Gold miners in particular are among the most improved stocks around lunch. Newcrest Mining (NCM) leading the way, up 4.3%.

In company news, Graincorp (GNC) is lifting 13% after recording a half year profit of $388 million compared to a loss this time last year. The bottom line was assisted by the sale of its Australian bulk liquid terminal business and the demerger of United Malt (UMG), now independently listed on the ASX.

Elsewhere, Shaver Shop (SSG) is surging 36% as the personal grooming retailer saw a spike in online sales for its products in the past six weeks during lockdown. Total sales grew 32% with a 387% jump in online sales more than offsetting declines at physical stores.

Breville (BRG) is also gaining 10% after successfully raising $94 million from institutional investors and will look to raise a further $10 million from retail shareholders.

April jobs data released recently has not had as big an impact on the local equity market but more so on the currency market with the Aussie dollar dropping from close to 64.6 US cents to lows of 64.27 US, currently at 64.36 US cents. April saw close to 595,000 jobs lost more than expected by the market, with the unemployment rate, rising from 5.2% to 6.2%. The estimate was for an 8.2% jobless rate. The smaller lift in the unemployment rate was due to less people looking for work and bringing the participation rate down by nearly 2%.

So far, 1.8b units have traded worth $3.1b with 343 stocks higher, 682 weaker and 322 unchanged.

Published by CommSec