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The Australian sharemarket has had a choppy start to the session, with the ASX 200 currently hanging onto a small 0.19 per cent gain to 5,976.3. While this follows a 1.5 per cent lift on Friday and a strong lead from Wall Street, local shares still need to lift by at least an additional 1.5 per cent by Wednesday to dodge their first monthly decline since March. Of the 20 trading days so far in September, the market has improved 10 times and declined 10 times, highlighting the inconsistent month this has been for local stocks.

The number of new coronavirus cases in Australia continues to encourage, with just five new cases identified in Victoria and no new cases for a second day in NSW. Together with easing restrictions in Victoria and the possibility of a trans-Tasman bubble, travel stocks like Webjet (WEB), Flight Centre (FLT) and Qantas (QAN) are lifting at lunch.

Unsurprisingly, the major banks are weighing on the market, with the big four down by as much as 1 per cent. This follows gains of between 3-7.4 per cent on Friday thanks to the Federal Government announcing plans to ease responsible lending rules which were introduced by the Rudd Government in 2009. This could lead to an increase in lending across the economy.

While no big names are set to pay investors dividends on Monday, around $10bn is expected to be distributed this week. This will include dividends from Fortescue Metals (FMG), CBA, ANZ, Coles (COL), St Barbara Mines (SBM), Wesfarmers (WES), AMP and ASX. A2 Milk (A2M) is down close to 10 per cent after warning of lower revenues partly due to Victoria’s severe restrictions.

Sezzle (SZL) announced the commencement of a Proof of Concept with Target Corporation in the US. This will include limited tests with a small portion of Target.com guests in two product categories. Shares in Sezzle (SZL) are lifting together with the rest of the buynow-pay-later (BNPL) space.

Corporate Travel Management (CTD) is in a trading halt ahead of a capital raising. Shares in Resolute (RSG) are outperforming the gold sub-sector after saying that further strike action at its Syama Gold Mine in Mali has been cancelled. RSG expects total production for 2020 in the range of 400,000 – 430,000 ounces at a cost of between US$980-$1080 per ounce.

According to a government report, the value of mining and energy exports are expected to slip in coming years. Over the past year, exports rose on the back of high iron ore and gold prices. Iron ore accounted for around 35 per cent of all Australia’s mining and energy export earnings in 2019-20. Commodity prices were subdued over the past session.

2.6bn shares have changed hands so far today today worth a light $2.5bn. 704 stocks are up, 471 down and 353 are flat.

Published by CommSec