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The Aussie market is lifting for a second straight day at lunch on Friday with the ASX 200 up 28 points or 0.43 per cent to 6641. The easing in trade tensions between the US & China has helped global markets rally while better than expected economic data from the US paints a more optimistic tone for the global economy.

The advances over the past two sessions is leading the benchmark index to a third straight week of gains after three straight days of losses to start the week.

Traditional growth stocks are outperforming with the IT sector seeing the largest percentage gain in the first few hours of trade. Afterpay Touch (APT) is more than 2 per cent higher, with a gain of 4.5% for Xero Ltd (XRO). Logistics software firm, Wisetech Global (WTC) is also climbing 0.7 per cent despite trading ex-dividend.

Most other sectors are also improving with the laggards coming from defensives such as utilities and property trusts. Gold miners have also eased following a 2% drop in the price of the precious metal as risk appetites increase. Newcrest Mining (NCM) is down 2.8% while other gold stocks are down by as much 5%.

In company news, Westpac Bank (WBC) confirmed that Slater & Gordon (SGH) has brought forward a class action suit against WBC subsidiaries, BT Funds Management and Westpac Life Insurance, in relation to BT’s cash investment option. WBC shares are still higher by 0.2 per cent but lagging its big four peers.

Elsewhere, Pro Medicus (PME) is sliding 10 per cent on an announcement that the founders of the health imaging software provider sold 1 million shares each. Meanwhile Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) is rallying 3.3 per cent higher as the iron ore miner competed a US$600 million bond offering as it refinances its debt. The proceeds of the new bond will be used to partially repay a US$1.4 billion 2022 loan facility.

The Aussie dollar is also on track for its first weekly gain since the late July. The local unit is buying 68.12 US cents around lunch time with no major economic releases due today.

So far, 1.5b units have changed hands worth $2.8b with 581 stocks higher, 457 weaker and 347 unchanged.

Published by  CommSec