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The Aussie market remains firmly in the red at lunch on Thursday but is well off intraday lows. Local shares are following sharp declines on global markets over concerns of surging COVID-19 cases across Europe and the US. Wall St saw losses between 3.4% to 3.7% with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 suffering the largest falls since June.

The ASX 200 was down as much as 110 points or 1.8% within the opening hour of trade but around midday has slightly recovered to a loss of 69 points or 1.1% at 5988. Declines have been broad based with selling led by the IT, materials and energy sectors.

Heavyweight miners like BHP Group (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are dragging on the broader market with BHP down 1.8% and RIO 1.4% lower. Fortescue Metals (FMG) is also softer but by a smaller margin, the pure play iron ore miner reported a record first quarter iron ore shipment of 44.3mt, 5% higher than the year before. Costs were also down and FMG reiterated its FY21 guidance.

Traditional safe havens in gold stocks are also underperforming with gold futures sliding 1.7% overnight. Northern Star (NST) and Saracen (SAR) are down 5% each. Meanwhile Newcrest Mining (NCM) is 3.4% weaker on a quarterly update. Gold production fell 12% to 503koz due to outages at a number of its mining sites, while costs also rose on the previous quarter.

ANZ Bank (ANZ) is again leading the big 4 banks lower, down 2%, after its second half cash profit slumped 42% to $43.75 billion, down from $6.5 billion last year. The drop was due to a significant increase in provisions and impairments. The final dividend was also slashed by 56% to $0.35 per share.

JB Hi-Fi (JBH) is down 4.5% as it holds its AGM today. The retailer provided a 1Q21 trading update with strong sales growth at its Australian stores, up 27.3% while the Good Guys saw sales growth of 30.9%. NZ sales fell slightly in the period and JBH is still not providing FY21 sales guidance due to COVID19 uncertainty.

One of the big winners today is HUB24 (HUB) with the investment platform rising 7% as it resumes trade following yesterday’s takeover bid for Xplore Wealth and other platforms. HUB has successfully raised $50 million from institutional investors.

The Aussie dollar has lifted off earlier lows but is still weaker compared to yesterday and buys 70.6 US cents.

Published by CommSec