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The Aussie is losing ground for a second day, with the ASX 200 down by 0.54 per cent to 6,099 and is being held back most by a small group of the market’s largest companies. Despite the decline, the market is still only ~2 per cent away from a five-month high and is still up so far this week. The US market lifting for the eighth time in nine days, European markets extending their winning streak to four days, better jobs data and a drop in new COVID-19 cases identified over the past 24 hours in Victoria is doing little to encourage markets.

The July read on the state of Australia’s labour market was released today at 11:30am AEST. According to the data, employment rose by 114,700 in July; almost four times above expectations for a lift around 30,000. Full-time jobs rose 43,500 and part-time positions increased 71,200. The unemployment rate edged higher from 7.4 per cent to 7.5 per cent in July. While this is the highest unemployment rate in 22 years, it is still well below the ~7.8 per cent many economists were expecting. The participation rate rose from 64.1 to 64.7 per cent in July as the number of people re-entering the workforce jumps. While these figures are encouraging, the Stage 3 and Stage 4 lockdowns in Victoria will hurt in coming months.

Losses from 10 companies are holding the market back most today. This includes Telstra (TLS) and AGL Energy (AGL), with both disappointing on their profit results this morning. TPG has also pushed lower ahead of its half year results due next Friday. Profit taking has hit the big four banks, after lifting by an average of 7 per cent from Monday to Wednesday. CSL Limited (CSL) – the market’s second largest company – is declining and iron ore miner Fortescue Metals (FMG) is off 1.5 per cent after hitting a record high on Tuesday.

Sydney Airport (SYD) remains in a trading halt for a third day. The airport is in the process of raising $2bn from investors which it aims to partly use to pay down debt. A number of brokers have cut their expectations for the group over the next 12 months as the equity raising is dilutive.

Telstra (TLS) is down 7.1 per cent after posting a 14.4 per cent slump in full year profit to $1.84bn partly due to costs associated with the nbn. It will pay investors 8c in dividends. AGL Energy (AGL) is down 10 per cent after delivering a 22 per cent slump in underlying profit to $816m. While this was in-line with the group’s guidance, its shares took a hit on its FY21 outlook. It now expects underlying profit to fall to between $560 and $660m. AGL declared a 51c final dividend.

Breville (BRG) fell by 6.5 per cent. While revenue jumped by 6.5 per cent to $952.2m, net profit still eased by 1.8 per cent to $66.2m. The work-from-home trend has provided the home appliance maker a tailwind. It will pay investors a 20.5c final dividend.

AMP Limited (AMP) is up 9.5 per cent after posting a $149m underlying profit and a $203m half year profit. Earnings declined across all its business units. It will pay investors a 10c special dividend on 1 October. AMP shares remain down 21 per cent Year-to-Date.

2.9bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $4bn. 731 stocks are up, 437 down and 337 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec