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Having enjoyed three consecutive days of improvements to start the week, the local market is easing back to start Thursday’s session. The ASX 200 is down 45 points or 0.66% to 6,780 and near intraday lows around midday. These moves follow a mixed session on Wall Street overnight.

Losses have been broad with nearly all sectors declining in the opening few hours of trade. Utilities are falling most along with property and industrials. Heavyweights like healthcare, materials and financials are all in the red as well. Communications are currently the only sector advancing.

Origin Energy (ORG) is among the largest decliners on the ASX 200, sliding 6.9%. The energy provider has cut its FY21 underlying earnings (EBITDA) outlook for its Energy Market business to between $1 billion and $1.14 billion, previously between $1.15 billion and $1.3 billion. The reasons being “continued impacts of COVID-19 on energy demand and key commodity markets and milder summer conditions due to the La Niña weather pattern”.

AGL Energy (AGL) is another to suffer heavier losses, down 5.5%. AGL is expecting a $2.69 billion hit to its first half profit results (due Thursday 11 February) mostly relating to worsening wholesale energy markets. The company still expects FY21 underlying profit forecast to remain unchanged, between $500 million and $580 million.

Furniture retailer, Nick Scali (NCK) opened higher but is now also weaker by 1.1% on the release of its half-year earnings today. Underlying net profit (NPAT) nearly doubled on last year to $40.5 million while margins also lifted significantly. January has also been a record month for new orders but due to supply chain delays, revenue growth is not keeping pace.

Qantas (QAN) is 2.2% higher after signing an agreement with Alliance Aviation (AQZ), up 12%, to start mid-2021 for three AQZ aircraft, with the option to expand to 14 in total. The deal is to service the Adelaide–Alice Springs, Darwin– Alice Springs & Darwin–Adelaide routes. The agreement is for three years.

After a small dip, the AUD is trading higher, after the release of the December’s $6.79 billion trade surplus, and buys 76.34 US cents.

Published by CommSec