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The Australian sharemarket is having its second worst day of the month, is sliding for a fourth consecutive session and has hit a two-week low, with the ASX 200 down 81pts or 1.3 per cent to 6,073.1. This follows the biggest tumble in a month for US markets last night following an alarming rise in coronavirus cases in the Northern Hemisphere. This is already leading to further restrictions and curfews in Italy and Spain. There are also a number of uncertainties about the next couple of weeks,
from a pre-election US stimulus bill growing increasingly unlikely to next week’s Presidential Election.

All sectors are losing ground at lunch, with energy and tech stocks the largest decliners. Energy companies are sliding after the oil price hit a three-week low and slumped by 3.2 per cent. This was blamed on fears of increased coronavirus cases in the Northern Hemisphere with both Italy and Spain imposing curfews on parts of the country.

Technology stocks – which have been the best performers so far this year – are coming under the most pressure on Tuesday. Adore Beauty (ABY) is down by 2.1 per cent after slumping by 16.2 per cent on Monday. The online beauty products retailer made its ASX debut on Friday.

Over a dozen Annual General Meetings (AGMs) are being held today. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank (BEN) is meeting investors online and has provided an update. Its Net Interest Margin rose by 1bp to 2.3% in the first quarter of FY21. As at 16 October, BEN said there were 6,797 customer accounts on deferral, down 69 per cent from the peak back in May and 63 per cent lower than at 31 August. Lending is up 11 per cent Year-to-Date.

Blackmores (BKL) is up 7 per cent after announcing the sale of its Global Therapeutics business to McPherson’s (MCP) for ~$27m.

Boral (BLD) is up 4 per cent after announcing the sale of its 50 per cent stake in plasterboard business, USG Boral to Knauf for US$1.015bn. It expects the sale to add around A$540m to profit before tax. BLD plans to use the cash to reduce debt and help pay for further growth.

Shares in Coca-Cola Amatil (CCL) are down 0.7 per cent at lunch after surging by 16.3 per cent on Monday thanks to a $9.3bn cash takeover offer from Coca-Cola European Partners, which is set to purchase 69 per cent of the company not already owned by Coca-Cola US.

3.8bn shares have changed hands so far today, worth $2.9bn. 235 stocks are up, 1016 down and 333 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec