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The ASX 200 is easing by 38pts or 0.55 per cent to 7,010.7 at lunch as losses from resource stocks and banks put an end to the market’s three-day winning streak. Keep in mind that this follows a 1.05 per cent advance for the local bourse on Thursday. Shares surged yesterday after China said it would halve tariffs on ~1700 US products.

Banks are mostly lower at lunch, with Westpac’s (WBC) 1.15 per cent falls leading the declines. Next week, CBA and Bendigo & Adelaide Bank (BEN) are set to post half year results. Both National Bank (NAB) and Macquarie (MQG) are scheduled to release quarterly numbers.

Kathmandu (KMD) is surging by 10 per cent after the adventure retailer said it expects profits over the first half will be around 40 per cent above last year’s results. It is attributing this to the acquisition of Rip Curl three months ago. Same-StoreSales (which compares like-for-like) are up 1.5 per cent.

REA Group (MEA) is up 1.5 per cent despite posting declines in revenue and profit. Revenue slipped by 6 per cent to $440.3m over the first half while net earnings slumped by 13 per cent to $152.9m. It has maintained its interim dividend at 55c. The company behind blamed the result on “…declines in new residential listing volumes and new project commencements”.

News Corp (NWS) is up by around 2 per cent despite a 6 per cent tumble in revenue and 4 per cent fall in EBITDA. NWS said a “…sluggish Australian economy…softness in book publishing and foreign exchange fluctuations” held back earnings.

Crown (CWN) is up 0.3 per cent at lunch. Hong Kong born billionaire Lawrence Ho decided to abandon plans to buy an additional 10 per cent of the casino operator for ~$880m. Mr Ho has attributed the decision to the shutdown of the Macau casino sector due to the spread of the coronavirus.

The RBA Governor Philip Lowe testified before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics in Canberra today. Governor Lowe reiterated that it would be prepared to cut rates should unemployment rise. This week however the RBA Governor seemed to downplay some of the risks facing the economy, including the bushfire and coronavirus. The market is pricing in just a ~30 per cent chance of a rate cut by April.

1.7bn shares have changed hands so far worth $3.3bn. 460 stocks rose, 585 fell and 345 finished unchanged.

Published by CommSec