The Aussie market continues to climb higher now for a fourth straight day following another positive finish and weekly gain for US markets. The tech heavy Nasdaq has now notched 10 straight weeks of gains, the longest winning streak since April 2012. The global tone is being aided by US-China trade optimism and easing concerns over central bank interest rate hikes.
The ASX 200 index is up 42 points or 0.68% to 6234 points and is buoyed by solid improvements from IT, health and consumer facing names. Property trusts are underperforming by trading flat towards lunch. Gold miners are another sub-sector to be weaker on the back of a near 1.5% slide in the price of the precious metal. Evolution Mining (EVN) and St Barbara (SBM) are down 4.5% and 3.5% respectively.
Advances in the IT sector is being led by a 6.7% improvement for Afterpay Touch (APT), continuing on from its near 14% jump last week. Other names such as logistics software firm Wisetech Global (WTC) and accounting software firm Xero (XRO) are both around 3% higher.
Consumer staples are also higher with supermarket giant Woolworths (WOW) lifting 2%. Food, liquor and hardware wholesaler, Metcash (MTS) which supplies to brands such as IGA supermarkets is up 2.3% after being 5% higher at its best levels following the unveiling of its new strategy update. MTS is aiming to invest $270 million over the next five years and aimed to cut costs over the period as well.
In other company news, crop protection firm Nufarm (NUF) is among the most improved on the ASX 200, gaining 7% on news reports that Wesfarmers (WES) is contemplating a takeover offer for the business. WES shares are also higher by 1.2%. Crown Resorts (CWN) has announced that it has been informally turned down by the Victorian government to delay the construction of the Queensbridge hotel tower, in which CWN has a 50% stake. CWN shares are still lifting by 1.5%.
The Aussie dollar has eased against the greenback as it buys 70.85 US cents ahead of a busy week on the local economic calendar with the RBA meeting, Q4 GDP and retail trade all released in the coming days. So far, 1b units have been traded worth $2b with 556 stocks higher, 435 lower and 357 unchanged. Published by CommSec