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Local shares are again fading and following further losses on Wall Street overnight. The ASX 200 is towards session lows at lunch as the benchmark index drops 29 points or 0.4% to 6,390. Global markets have given back some of the gains earlier in the week as coronavirus cases in the northern hemisphere continue to surge and leading to further lockdowns.

The Aussie market is caught up in the weakness even as Victoria reported a 14th day of no new COVID cases or deaths. Even with the weakness towards the back end of the week, the positive momentum continues into November. This week the ASX 200 is on track for a gain of 3.2% after rising 4.4% last week.

Losses today are across the majority of sectors with financials, energy and industrials leading the declines. Energy stocks are underperforming most today but have been the biggest improvers this week, surging ~13%. Global oil prices dipped overnight after a surprise lift in US crude stockpiles. Santos (STO) is falling 3.3% while Woodside (WPL) is down 1.8%.

The only sectors to advance at lunch are the materials and communications. The mining sector is improving even as BHP Group (BHP) slides 1.7% as Fortescue Metals (FMG) rises 1.6% and gold miners push higher. Other improvers includes Telstra (TLS) which is 1.1% higher following a 3% rise on its investor day update yesterday, where it proposes to restructure its infrastructure assets. Afterpay (APT) is
also gaining 2.5% and another big gainer.

In company news, Ramsay Health Care (RHC) is 1.8% weaker following a quarterly trading update. Performance over the first quarter of FY21 was mixed across Ramsay’s different regions. Revenue improved 1.5% in Australia, even with disruptions from Victoria’s second lockdown. Surgical volumes rose in France by 5.4% but revenue declined nearly 10% in the UK (in GBP terms). Given the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, RHC declined to provide FY21 guidance.

The Aussie dollar remains weaker against the USD having fallen throughout the US session but has steadied and now buys 72.4 US cents.

Published by CommSec