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The Aussie sharemarket has had a choppy start to Tuesday’s session with the ASX 200 opening weaker
before briefly reversing the losses and is now back in the red towards lunch. The index is down 26 points or 0.4% to 6,203 having been down as much as 30 points on the open and rising 11 points at its earlier highs. The moves locally follows losses on Wall Street overnight as US fiscal stimulus looks less likely before the November 3 US election.

Leading declines on the ASX has been the materials sector despite mostly stronger commodity and metals prices. Most sectors are lower with financials, healthcare and communications also weighing on the broader market while technology leads improvements.

Mining giant BHP Group (BHP) is one of the major weights on the market, sliding 1.3% following the release of its September quarter production update. Iron ore production over the quarter lifted 8% to 66Mt on the year before with the miners shipping 74Mt in the period. Guidance for the full year remains unchanged.

Elsewhere financials are also lower with the majority of the big banks in the red. Westpac (WBC) is leading falls for the lenders even as it signed a new arrangement with Afterpay (APT). APT will be able to link its services to WBC’s transaction and savings accounts made possible by its new digital banking platform. WBC shares are down 0.7% but APT has surged 7% to a new record and is now well above $100/share.

Fellow BNPL provider, ZipCo (Z1P), has also announced arrangements with Visa, Google Pay and Apple Pay to ease the process for transacting in stores. Z1P shares are 1.7% higher.

Cochlear (COH) is 1.5% higher with the hearing implant maker providing a quarterly update as it holds its AGM. Developed market implant units have seen low single digitgrowth on the year before as surgeries resume following COVID-19 restrictions but developing markets, besides China, continued to struggle with a 40% drop on the year before.

The AUD is weaker and now buys 70.5 US c5ents. So far, 2.9b units have traded worth $2.5B with 504 stocks higher, 623 lower and 398 unchanged.

Published by CommSec