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The Aussie market is suffering its first back to back loss in a fortnight as bond market volatility continues to impact investor decision making amid rising longer term yields driving expectations of rising inflation and interest rates. The ASX 200 hit session lows earlier this morning, down roughly 100 points or 1.5% and at lunch is slightly firmer with an 85 point or 1.25% drop to 6,676.

Local technology stocks have followed its US counterparts to be the weakest performer so far on Friday’s session as growth stocks get sold off. Buy-now pay later names like Afterpay (APT) is down 4% with smaller players suffering even larger declines. Sezzle (SZL) is 6% lower as is ZipCo (Z1P) while Splitit (APT) and Openpay (OPY) are down more than 7% each.

Losses have been rather widespread with decline across most sectors. Materials and healthcare are also
experiencing heavy falls. Commodity prices were generally softer with Nickel underperforming and sliding 7.4%. Nickel Mines (NIC) is down 8%. Lithium miners Pilbara (PLS) and Orocobre (ORE) are roughly easing 9% each. Big names such as BHP Group (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are 2.8% and 3.8% lower respectively.

Energy is bucking the trend however with global oil prices jumping over 4% overnight following the decision by OPEC+ to keep existing production cuts for another month. The decision caught investor by surprise as members were expected to increase supply in March. The decision has boosted local oil and gas names, producers such as Oil Search (OSH) and Santos (STO) are 3% higher while Woodside (WPL) is adding 2%.

In some company news, fruit and veg grower Costa Group (CGC) announced it has agreed to acquire the farming operations of KW Orchards citrus farm & an associated packing operation. The acquisition will be funded from existing debt facilities and is expected to be completed in late March 2021. CGC shares are down 0.3%.

In February, investment group Magellan (MGF) experienced net inflows of $691 million, which included net retail inflows of $703 million & net institutional outflows of $12 million. MGF is 2.3% weaker.

The AUD has fallen to 76.9 US cents on a stronger USD and no local releases due.

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