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Local shares is trying to halt its trend lower in recent days, with the Aussie market recovering from earlier declines at lunch on Wednesday. The ASX 200 is now well off session lows as the index moves higher by 6 points or 0.1% to 6,057, having fallen 30 points or 0.5% at its lowest levels. This follows a generally weaker tone on US and European markets as global COVID-19 cases continue to surge.

Losses among the financials and energy sectors are broadly being offset by decent gains for technology,
consumer staples and healthcare. The materials and consumer discretionary sectors are also making small
improvements.

The big four banks and Macquarie Group (MQG) are acting as the major weight on the market. MQG is down 2.5% while ANZ leads the declines for the big four lenders with a fall of 1.5%.

Afterpay (APT) is a standout with the BNPL provider lifting 7% on a quarterly update this morning. APT recorded underlying sales of $4.1 billion for the September quarter, which was more than double a year ago. Sales in Aus/NZ totalled $2.2 billion while US sales came in at $1.6 billion and saw the most impressive improvement of 229%. Active customers nearly doubled to 11.2 million while merchants rose 70% to 63,800.

Coles Group (COL) is 2.3% higher having also provided a quarterly trading update. Group sales rose 10% at $9.6 billion with supermarket sales making up the majority at $8.5 billion, growth of 9.8%. Liquor sales grew the most, up 17% to $852 million while convenience store sales also rose 10%. Woolworths (WOW) is also 2% higher and will release a quarterly sales update next week (Nov 4).

Super Retail Group (SUL) also provided a sales update ahead of its AGM. In the first 17 weeks of FY21, total sales and like-for-like sales rose 25% despite impacts of store closures due to lockdowns in Melbourne and Auckland. Online sales grew 132%.

September Quarter inflation rose 1.6% with the annual inflation rate lifting 0.7%. The Aussie dollar is now buying 71.28 US cents. So far, 2.8b units have traded worth $2.5b with 620 stocks higher, 535 lower and 354 unchanged.

Published by CommSec