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Local shares have continued losses for a second day with the ASX 200 easing 17 points or 0.26% to 6815 around midday. Despite recent falls, the benchmark index is still on track for a weekly gain of 1.1% and is poised for advances of ~20% in 2019.

The local market is ignoring a better finish on Wall Street as investors remain bullish despite the impeachment vote of President Trump in the US House of Representatives yesterday as chances are slim that he will actually be removed from the Oval Office.

Losses are across most sectors with financials, consumer facing and healthcare leading declines. The only sectors to improve have been more defensive in nature with industrials, real estate and utilities the best performers.

The largest 20 companies are underperforming the broader market and contributing most to losses. The big banks are down at least 0.25% with Commonwealth Bank (CBA) falling most with a 0.5% slide. Blood plasma company, CSL Ltd (CSL) is down a similar percentage. Meanwhile supermarket giant Woolworths (WOW) is dipping 1.6%.

Aged care provider, Regis Healthcare (REG) is among the worst performers with a 17% slump. The company provided weaker guidance for FY20 with occupancy rates falling. Earnings (EBITDA) guidance has been lowered by 12% from ~$105 million to ~$92 million while net profit (NPAT) guidance is now expected at ~$28 million, a fall of 26% from previous guidance at $38 million.

Property and infrastructure group, Lendlease (LLC) is 4.3% lower after announcing late yesterday it had agreed to sell its struggling engineering business to a Spanish group, Acciona, for $180 million. If the sale receives necessary approvals, it is expected to be completed in the first half of 2020.

Gold miners such as Northern Star (NST) are leading advances with a gain of 3%. Construction company CIMIC (CIM) is advancing 2.2% after reaching a settlement in relation to a shareholder class action, which is unlikely to
have any material impact to profits.

The Aussie dollar is slightly firmer buying 68.88 US cents. So far, 1.1b units have changed hands worth $4.2b with 501 stocks higher, 463 lower and 343 unchanged.

Published by CommSec