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The Aussie market is off to a softer start on Monday after rallying close to 1.5% on Friday. The ASX 200 is 41 points or 0.6% lower at 6562 around lunch. It was a mixed lead from Wall Street as investors looked to close out a volatile month in August. Fresh tariffs were also imposed over the weekend by both the US and China.

The losers are outweighing the winners so far with the majority of sectors in the red. Only the materials are marginally higher. Nickel miners are leading the materials sector with the price of the metal lifting on supply concerns as Indonesia, a major producer of nickel, looks to ban ore exports from December. Miners, Western Areas (WSA) and Independence Group (IGO) are up by as much as 9%. Heavyweights BHP Group (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are also both higher by as much as 1.5%.

Losses are most severe for the energy and communications sectors. Energy producers have followed oil prices lower with the US Nymex price falling by 2.8% on Friday in US trade. Woodside (WPL) and Santos (STO) are both easing at least 1%. Telcos are being weighed by a decline in Telstra (TLS). Australia’s largest telco lowered its earnings (EBITDA) and total income guidance for the year ahead due to a slower than expected roll-out of the nbn network. TLS shares are down 1.75%.

Chemical and explosives firm, Incitec Pivot (IPL) fell as much as 14%, but is recovering to be 4% lower as it also provided an earnings downgrade for FY20 with EBIT forecast falling to a range of $285-295 million from a previous guidance of $370-$415 million due to impacts to its fertiliser business due to drought conditions on the East Coast of Australia. IPL is also considering a potential sale or demerger of its fertiliser business and is launching a strategic review.

Bubs Australia (BUB) is 3% weaker after reporting its FY19 profit results after market close on Friday. The infant formula company more than doubled its revenue and gross sales over the year but still recorded a full year net loss of $35.5 million.

The Aussie dollar is relatively unchanged despite a raft of economic data out this morning and is buying 67.3 US cents. So far, 1.6b units have traded worth $2.2b with 533 stocks higher, 572 weaker and 355 unchanged.

Published by CommSec