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The Australian sharemarket is easing for the first time since August 3, with the ASX 200 down 0.4 per cent to 7,598.6 on Monday. This follows a relatively flat finish from US markets on Friday, with the market being held back by losses from the banks, energy stocks, consumer discretionary companies and some healthcare businesses.

Keep in mind that this follows a 1.2 per cent lift for our market last week, record highs hit over eight of the past 11 days and keeps the market on track to lift for an 11th consecutive month.

NSW identified a record 478 cases of COVID-19 over the past day on a record 156,495 tests to 8pm last night. Travel stocks including Flight Centre (FLT), Webjet (WEB) and Qantas (QAN) are under pressure on Monday.

Sydney Airport (SYD) is a touch higher after receiving a revised takeover bid from the Sydney Aviation Alliance at an indicative price of $8.45 cash per security. SYD has rejected the offer, which is 20c above the initial offer made on 5 July. SYD maintains that this ‘continues to undervalue’ the airport and that it isn’t in the best interest of shareholders.

A2 Milk (A2M) is a standout, lifting by 10 per cent following media reports suggesting the much larger Swiss food company Nestle could be potentially interested in acquiring the New Zealand based infant formula firm. Nestle is around 100 times the size of A2M on the sharemarket. A2M is still down ~43 per cent Year-to-Date.

Metcash (MTS) has completed a $200m off-market buy-back, which was $25m more than it expected to purchase thanks to strong support from shareholders. The buy-back was completed at $3.52 per share and reduces the number of shares on issue by 5.6 per cent.

Lendlease (LLC) is down 5.8 per cent. The property group posted a statutory profit of $222m, while also saying it expects FY22 to be challenging as lockdowns continue to have significant ramifications.

Bendigo & Adelaide Bank (BEN) posted its FY21 results today, including a 51.5 per cent lift in cash earnings to $457.2m, while it declared its first final dividend since 2019, at 26.5c.

BHP confirmed that it is conducting a review of its Petroleum business to re-assess its fit in the organisation. The miner is lifting by 1.3 per cent, while iron ore miners Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue Metals (FMG) are both under pressure.

2.9bn shares have changed hands so far worth $2.6bn. 646 stocks are up, 657 down and 423 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec