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The Australian sharemarket is off to a slow start, with the ASX 200 down 31pts or 0.5 per cent to 6,614.2 after treading water on Monday. Gains from the banks, energy stocks and iron ore miners are not enough to offset losses from technology, healthcare and property companies.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost his second attempt to hold a snap election in October. Parliament will be suspended until October 14, a little over two weeks before the October 31 Brexit deadline.

Coal miner New Hope (NHC) is in a trading halt ahead of a court judgment relating to a planned Queensland coal mine. The results of a protestor’s appeal are expected today.

Graphite producer Syrah Resources (SYR) is down 30 per cent following an update this morning. The average price it received for each tonne of graphite fell by 12 per cent over the past three months mainly due to a drop in Chinese demand and a weaker Yuan.

Mesoblast (MSB) is up 15 per cent on news it has partnered with German pharmaceutical giant, Grunenthal. The deal will help MSB develop and commercialise its stem cell therapies to treat chronic lower back pain. It expects to receive up to US$150m in upfront payments.

ASIC has appealed the Federal Court’s decision to dismiss a case against Westpac (WBC) last month. WBC is still up by 0.85 per cent.

A number of stocks are trading ex-dividend today including CSL, AMC, SHL, RWC, NWS, ADH and TGR.

The monthly NAB Business Survey was released this morning. Business confidence and conditions rose by just 1 point in August. Australia’s business sector lost momentum prior to the Federal election and is yet to record significant improvement.

Consumer confidence fell by 1 per cent last week according to a weekly sentiment survey out this morning.

Chinese inflation was just a touch ahead of market expectations last month. CPI rose by 2.8 per cent over the year (survey: +2.7 per cent) while business inflation eased by 0.8 per cent (survey: -0.9 per cent).

1.3bn shares have changed hands so far worth a well above average $3bn. 439 stocks are up, 558 down and 372 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec