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Further thawing of the recent frosty trade relationship between the US and China is continuing to drive up the Aussie sharemarket. The ASX 200 is lifting for a third straight day, climbing 12 points or 0.2 per cent to 6667 at lunch on Friday.

Global markets have been buoyed by goodwill gestures from both sides as investors and traders mull the latest developments. China has reportedly increased its purchases of US soybeans while US President Donald Trump mentioned he would be open to an interim deal with China. Further stimulus from the European Central Bank
(ECB) was also a boost with the central bank cutting deposit rates and recommencing a bond buying program.

The recent optimism has the Aussie market on track for a fourth consecutive weekly advance. Today’s gains have been on the back of improvements for industrials, financials and communications. The financials, led by the four major banks, have been the main support for the course of the week and is on run of seven consecutive sessions of improvements.

Payment services firm, Isignthis (ISX) has swung wildly over recent days. The company today has responded to an ASX price query amid allegations its ownership structure was unclear and questions over performance bonuses. ISX shares are 14 per cent higher.

The materials sector is leading declines with gold miners easing on a fall in the price of the precious metal. Miners such as Newcrest Mining (NCM), Evolution Mining (EVN) and Northern Star (NST) are all down 3 per cent or more. Meanwhile iron ore miners aren’t responding to a 3.5 per cent lift in iron ore with only muted gains for BHP Group (BHP), Fortescue Metals (FMG) and Rio Tinto (RIO).

In company news, the ACCC is unlikely to stand in the way of Virgin Australia (VAH) and Virgin Atlantic co-operating more to improve services between Australia and the UK. The consumer watchdog believes this will also improve schedules and services for passengers VAH shares are flat at lunch.

The Aussie dollar is holding around 68.7 US cents with no major economic data out in Australia today. So far, 1.2b units have changed hands worth $2.6b with 518 stocks trading higher, 471 weaker and 337 unchanged.

Published by CommSec