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The local sharemarket is rebounding from losses over the past two trading sessions. The ASX 200 is up 18 points or 0.3% to 6198 as Wall St advanced on the back of better than expected retail sales figures over January. However the Aussie market has faded slightly from the highs recorded at the open, where the 200 index was up ~42 points.  Gains are across the board with only the communications sector in the red. The resource sectors are leading the advances despite mixed trade for commodities overnight. Energy stocks are recouping yesterday’s losses when Norway’s sovereign fund was reportedly looking to limit its exposure to fossil fuels. Today the sector is the most improved. Leading the gains are Santos (STO) and Beach Energy (BPT), both up more than 2%.
Miners are also lifting strongly despite iron ore falling 2.2% although copper was higher. Major miners BHP Group (BHP), Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) are all higher between 1.5% and 2%. Gold miners are reversing previous gains with losses of up to 4% for that sub-sector. Communications are being weighed by a 0.3% loss for Telstra (TLS).
AI software firm, Appen (APX) shares are sliding 8% as it resumes trade following the completion of its $285 million institutional placement. APX is looking to raise a further $15 million via a Share Purchase Plan (SPP) to fund its acquisition of US based Figure Eight Technologies.
Other tech names, Wisetech Global (WTC), Afterpay Touch (APT) and Altium (ALU) are among the most improved stocks in the top 200. WTC is lifting 5.5% while APT is 1.5% higher and ALU is gaining 1.2%.
Intellectual property group Xenith IP (XIP) is up 12% after receiving a takeover bid from rival group IPH Ltd (IPH). IPH is offering $1.97/share in cash & shares, valuing XIP around $175 million.
On the economic front, monthly business confidence and conditions (Feb) with weekly consumer confidence all dipping while lending values for owner occupied and investment loans continued to fall in January. The Aussie dollar is buying 70.67 US cents. So far, 1b units have traded worth $2b with 519 stocks higher, 417 weaker and341 unchanged. Published by CommSec