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Aussie shares are off to a solid open on Friday with the ASX 200 lifting by 47 points or 0.7 per cent to 6765 heading into lunch on Friday. The gains are despite a relatively lacklustre lead from Wall Street as investors continue to digest the recent Fed move to cut rates and upcoming trade talks between the US & China.

Locally, gains have been broad based and across all sectors. Roughly 75 per cent of the top 200 stocks are making advances, which is on track to record a fifth consecutive weekly improvement. The healthcare and IT sectors are leading the way with biotech firm CSL Ltd (CSL) the largest individual contributor to market gains as it climbs 1.4 per cent. The major banks and retailers are also pushing higher.

Miners are mostly higher despite mixed trade for base metals overnight. Iron ore fell more than 4 per cent overnight, which has weighed on Fortescue Metals (FMG) with a 1.7 per cent decline and Rio Tinto (RIO) easing 0.4 per cent, however BHP Group (BHP) is managing to remain in positive territory by lifting 0.4 per cent.

The biggest mover on the ASX 200 has been Premier Investments (PMV). The operator of retail brands such as Smiggle, Just Jeans and Peter Alexander announced record sales of $1.27 billion, an increase of 7.5 per cent for the past year, while profit jumped nearly 28 per cent to $106.8 million. The results were strong despite Brexit uncertainty weighing on its Smiggle UK brand. PMV shares are higher by 17 per cent, the biggest jump since 2007.

Elsewhere, wealth manager IOOF Ltd (IFL) is rising 5.5 per cent after the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) lost its case in the Federal Court to disqualify five executives including former CEO Chris Kelaher for failing to act in the best interest of superannuation members. Meanwhile, Rural Funds (RFF) is falling a further 4 per cent and is down nearly 19 per cent this week on the release of a negative report by a Hong Kong based Research house.

With no major economic data due today, the Aussie dollar has continued to ease after yesterday’s surprise uptick in the unemployment rate, raising expectations of an interest rate cut in October. The local unit is buying 67.85 US cents.

So far, 1.2b units have traded worth $2.2b with 593 stocks higher, 371 weaker and 363 unchanged.

Published by CommSec