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Aussie shares are slightly lower at lunch on Monday, with the ASX 200 down 0.3 per cent to 6,972.9, despite both US and European markets hitting record highs on Friday.

This follows the Australian sharemarket’s 2.44 per cent lift last week, the ASX 200 hitting fresh 13-month highs Thursday and rising above 7,000pts briefly last week. In coming weeks, the market will be watching closely to see whether there is sufficient momentum to keep the ASX 200 above 7,000pt and to lift to preCOVID record highs.

No major data is set for release in Australia or the region today. The key monthly update on employment growth will be a highlight on Thursday, while this will be the busiest week of the month for
updates on China’s economy. Data on China’s GDP, trade, retail sales, production and investment is due on Tuesday and Friday.

CBA Economists have revised their unemployment guidance lower for the year, expecting the jobless rate to end 2021 at 5 per cent (from 5.5 per cent) and 4.7 per cent by the end of 2022 (from 4.8 per cent). CBA has also raised its 2021 GDP expectations to 4.7 per cent (from 4.4 per cent).

Brickworks (BKW) trades ex-dividend on Monday for its 21c interim distribution. Blackmores (BKL) is set to pay eligible investors a 29c interim dividend today, which is close to $6m in payments. Rio Tinto (RIO) and Woolworths (WOW) will pay shareholders dividends later this week.

Online book retailer Booktopia (BKG) has announced a new partnership with education technology platform Zookal, as the exclusive supplier of textbooks from May 1. Zookal is forecasting annual book sales revenue of approximately $22m this financial year. BKG anticipates the full benefit of increased revenue and profits to be achieved in FY22 and helps continue its expansion into education books sectors.

Synlait (SM1) chief executive Leon Clement has announced his resignation from the dairy products manufacturer he has led from September 2018. SM1 shares are down 2.1 per cent today and 35 per cent so far this year.

Delorean Corporation (DEL) is set to make its ASX debut at 12pm AEST today. DEL is developing a portfolio of bioenergy generation assets in Australia and New Zealand.

Worley (WOR) has been awarded a seven-year maintenance and integrity contract for services to support Oman’s leading exploration and production company. WOR is down 1.1 per cent.

2.8bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $1.6bn, with 507 higher, 726 in the red and 391 stocks in the red.

Published by CommSec