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Aussie shares are lifting for a sixth day while also hitting fresh record highs, with the ASX 200 lifting by 17pts or 0.26 per cent to 6882. Unless the index slumps by more than 3 per cent today, November will be the ninth month of gains in 2019 and leaves the market on track to have its best year in a decade.

While U.S. sharemarkets were shut last night for Thanksgiving, American equities remain at record highs thanks partly to hopes of a trade deal with China. On balance optimism has outweighed concerns, however with President Trump’s move to sign the Hong Kong Human Rights bill into law, investors are watching for how China responds. December 15 is the deadline both parties have set for a phase 1 trade deal before additional import duties kick in.

At lunch, 11 of 12 sectors are lifting, with mining stocks the only losers (mainly due to gold miner weakness). The banks are mixed following what has been a challenging fortnight for the majors.

Zip Co (Z1P) entered a trading halt after announcing a $60m capital raising. The buy-now-pay-later company said it will use the funds to help with its U.K. expansion, strengthen its balance sheet and move into small business solutions.

Premier Investments (PMV) is up 1.6 per cent after reaffirming its Smiggle growth strategy and flagging continued growth for its Peter Alexander stores.

CIMIC (CIM) is up 1 per cent after winning a contract to do more work for the Sydney Metro. CIM is expected to operate and maintain the metro line from Rouse Hill to Bankstown and expects its Sydney Metro contracts to generate ~$366m in revenue.

Select Harvests (SHV) is surging by 9 per cent after the nut grower handed down a solid $53m annual profit (lost $1.5m last year). A bigger than expected almond crop (up 45 per cent on last year), a lift in nut prices (up 7 per cent) and a 15 per cent drop in costs helped.

The next few days will be important for retailers due to Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. In the U.S. in particular, this is the biggest sales event of the year, however many Australian names are also participating ahead of Christmas. Recent surveys have highlighted a cautious consumer despite tax rebates and rate
cuts.

Tonight, US markets will shut early following Thanksgiving. On Saturday, the November update on China’s manufacturing sector will be released. Economists will be watching for signs of the trade war impact on China.

1.4bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $3bn. 518 stocks are up, 415 are down and 334 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec