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The Australian sharemarket is off to a quiet start on Friday, with the ASX 200 down by just 0.05 per cent to 6389. Losses from energy stocks, banks and tech are being offset by solid gains from materials.

Friday also marks the final trading day of the month, and Australia remains the only major sharemarket in positive territory in May. The ASX 200 is up by around 1 per cent and has been helped most by strong gains last week as investors reacted to the RBA flagging rate cuts and a surprise Federal Election outcome. The US market is down 5.5 per cent in May, shares in Hong Kong have slumped by 8 per cent, Japan by 5.5 per cent and France has been a laggard in Europe, slumping by 6.5 per cent.

Crown Resorts (CWN) is down 4.1 per cent as the market reacts to James Packer’s Consolidated Holdings decision to sell a 19.99 per cent stake in the casino operator. Consolidated still retains a ~26 per cent stake in the group.

Select Harvests (SHV) is up 8.4 per cent after the almond grower close to doubled half year profit to $20m despite a 39 per cent lift in water costs.

St Barbara Mines (SBM) is the only major gold producer in negative territory after cutting its gold production forecasts for the year to June. It now expects 335,000 ounces (previously 365-375k) due to setbacks at a WA mine. The price of gold improved last night due to ongoing concerns about the US-China tensions and fears of lower global growth. Newcrest (NCM), Northern Star (NST) and Evolution (EVN) are lifting strongly.

Energy stocks are among the worst performers due to a near 4 per cent slide in the oil price overnight. Woodside (WPL), Santos (STO), Oil Search (OSH) and Origin (ORG) are all down by as much as 2.1 per cent. The price of oil has slumped by 11 per cent in May; a negative for energy stocks but could help push petrol prices lower.

Lynas (LYC) is up 10.5 per cent. The rare earth minerals company is up by more than 25 per cent this week partly on US-China trade tensions. China is the world’s dominant producer.

Link (LNK) is down 19 per cent after revising its full year profit guidance. The tech group which provides outsourced admin services blamed lower earnings on Brexit which is ‘impacting business sentiment’. LNK expects annual profit between $195- $205m.

1.3bn shares have changed hands so far on Friday worth a significant and well above average $4.1bn. 444 stocks are up, 517 are down and 388 are flat.

Published by CommSec