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Aussie shares are weaker on Friday, the last day of the week and month. At lunch, the ASX 200 is 41 points or 0.6% softer at 7,041 and currently on track for its worst daily performance in nearly a fortnight. US markets rose overnight on strong economic data while investors also digested quarterly earnings.

No sector has escaped the selling with broad declines so far for the day. Healthcare is the worst although energy, consumer staples and materials are not far behind. More defensive natured sectors are falling the least with utilities and communications among outperformers.

Today’s losses are pushing the benchmark index lower for the week, with a decline of ~0.3% so far. This would make it a second weekly decline a row. Even with these more recent losses, the ASX 200 still remains firmer for the month with a gain of 3.6%. This would make it a seventh consecutive month of gains with the market rising ~20% in that time.

In company news, ANZ Bank (ANZ) is expecting an $817 million hit to its first half cash profit results, to be released next week on May 5. The notable items includes a $251 million after tax write-down related to its ANZ Share Investing business while a $135 million hit from its holding in Malaysian bank, AmBank. ANZ shares are 0.17% lower and outperforming its big 4 peers. Westpac (WBC) and National Bank (NAB) are both due to release half year earnings next week.

US based buy-now pay-later (BNPL) provider Sezzle (SZL) is rising 7.7% as it announced plans to list in the US following a quarterly update. Underlying Merchant Sales (UMS) more than tripled for the three months to March to US$375.1 million. Active customers now comes in at 2.6 million with 34,000 merchants.

Beach Energy (BPT) is tumbling 22.6% as the oil & gas producer lowered its FY21 production guidance and has withdrawn its 5-year outlook following a downgrade of its reserve estimates at operations in the Cooper Basin in Australia.

The Aussie dollar has lifted from its lows during US trading and is now buying 77.76 US cents.

James Tao – Media & Capital Markets Analyst (Author), CommSec