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Aussie shares are falling for a third consecutive session to start the holiday shortened week. The ASX 200 is slipping 20 points or 0.3% to 6796 and shrugging off another record session on Wall Street to close out last week.

Leading declines so far have been heavyweights such as mining and banking stocks. Mining stocks are the major underperformers with mixed trade for metals over the weekend. Iron ore fell 2.5%, which is driving down local iron ore miners. Rio Tinto (RIO) is easing 1.4% while diversified miner South32 (S32) is down 2.1%. BHP Group (BHP) is down 1.3% and has announced the acceleration of CEO Andrew MacKenzie’s retirement to March 2020.

Gold miners are also in the red with heavier losses for larger precious metal producers. Newcrest Mining (NCM) is falling 1.7% while Saracen Mineral (SAR) is easing 3.5%. Northern Star (NST) is down 2.8% with the miner facing legal action from Tribune Resources (TBR).

Financial losses are led by Macquarie Group (MQG) which is 0.6% lower. The major banks are mostly softer and down by as much as 0.2% with Commonwealth Bank (CBA) the weakest. Westpac (WBC) has managed to edge higher by 0.4%. The IT sector is by far the most improved subindex with accounting software firm Xero (XRO) leading advances with a gain of 4.4%. AI firm, Appen (APX) is 1.6% higher while Afterpay Limited (APT) is up 0.5%.

In company news, Caltex Australia (CTX) is looking to rebrand its petrol stations to Ampol after negotiations broke down with Chevron to use the name in Australia. The process is expected to cost roughly $165 million over a 3 year time frame but CTX is expected to save $18-$20 million a year in trademark and licence fees.

Vocus Group (VOC) is 1% higher after setting a shareholder class action relating to allegations of misleading conduct around its FY17 outlook. VOC will pay $3.5 million of a $35 million settlement without admission of liability. The remaining amount is covered by insurance.

Nib Group (NHF) is slightly lower by 0.5% while fruit grower Costa Group (CGC) is advancing 0.8% with both companies announcing changes to its leadership teams. The Aussie dollar is holding around 69 US cents. So far,
0.9b units worth $1b with 429 stocks higher, 478 weaker and 349 unchanged.

Published by CommSec