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The Aussie market is trading in the red for the first time in eight sessions following weakness on Wall Street overnight. The ASX 200 is down 28 points or 0.4% to 6700, making it on track for its first decline in December and ending its seven session winning streak, where the benchmark index rallied 3.2%.

Even with these early losses, the Aussie market remains slightly ahead for the year, up ~15 points or 0.25% in 2020 with a few weeks to trade. At its lows in March, the ASX 200 had slumped roughly 35%.

Today, losses have been widespread with nearly every sector now lower. Leading the falls are the healthcare, IT, communications and energy sectors which are all down at least 1% in the opening hours. The financials and utilities are experiencing narrower declines, while consumer staples are improving.

Individually, biotech giant CSL Ltd (CSL) is weighing most on the broader market with a fall of 0.8% while Fortescue Metals (FMG) is one of the biggest positive contributors. Iron ore continues to hit fresh 7.5 year highs pushing FMG to new record highs and a current gain of 3.3%.

Appen (APX) is falling sharply with the AI firm sliding 12% on a trading update. APX has downgraded its FY20 guidance on weaker than expected revenue in Q4 due to COVID-19 lockdowns in California, impacting its major customers. FY underlying EBITDA is now expected between $106-109 million from $125-130 million.

Starpharma (SPL) is jumping 14% with its VIRALEZE™ antiviral nasal spray on track to be registered, and ready for market in the first quarter of 2021 and ahead of schedule. VIRALEZE™ is expected to form part of a range of preventative measures such as masks and other PPE.

Michael Hill (MHJ) is 5.5% firmer on a trading update with the jeweller managing strong same store sales growth of 7.9% for the 22 weeks ending 29 November. Sales in Oct/Nov were even better with growth of 8.5%. Online sales also doubled while margins also rose significantly.

The Aussie dollar remains well supported by strong commodity prices, particularly iron ore and holds around 74.45 US cents.

Published by CommSec