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Aussie shares are again underperforming on Friday with the ASX 200 edging lower for a second successive
session. The benchmark index fallen to intraday lows and is down 20 points or 0.3% to 6,829 around midday. It follows fairly subdued trading on Wall Street overnight as US stocks take a break from its hot start to 2021.

Losses are steepest for the resource sectors. Commodity prices were generally weaker. Global oil prices eased back from recent 13-month highs weighing on local producers. Oil Search (OSH) and Beach Energy (BPT) are both down more than 2%.

Major miners BHP Group (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are also in the red. BHP is down 1.3% and is the largest individual weight on the market. Iron ore prices will see little activity as the week-long Lunar Year holiday commences. While BHP and RIO are lower, Fortescue Metals (FMG) is 0.6% higher.

Among the winners, Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is leading the big four lenders higher, rising 0.7%. Communications are also advancing with REA Group (REA) and Telstra (TLS) lifting 1.6% and 0.8% each.

In company news, it has been a quieter morning on the reporting front. Property developer, Mirvac Group (MGR) is 2% lower after its first half statutory profit fell 35% to $396 million while operating profit dropped 22% to $276 million. Residential defaults came in at 3.5% over the half. MGR also provided its maiden FY guidance with its distribution between 9.6-9.8cps.

Retailer Baby Bunting (BBN) is 3.9% weaker even as it lifted dividends following a 55% jump in first half net profit to $7.5 million while sales rose 17% to $217.3 million. Still, BBN didn’t provide earnings guidance due to COVID-19 uncertainty. Kathmandu (KMD) is 2% lower on a sales update with Rip Curl outperforming its other segments.

Nearmap (NEA) remains in a trading halt and will bring its profit reporting date to Monday 15 February (from 17 Feb) in light of a short seller report yesterday.

Elsewhere, Crown Resorts (CWN) denied media reports it’s CEO Ken Barton was to resign. CWN did confirm another board director, Andrew Demetriou, will step down from his positions with the business.

Published by CommSec