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Local shares are lifting at lunch on Friday on news that the US & China have agreed to a phase one trade deal with reports that the December 15 tariff increases has been averted. Both sides are also expected to reduce existing tariffs according to sources. Wall Street rallied to record levels with the S&P500 and NASDAQ closing at all-time highs.

The ASX 200 is 31 points or 0.5% higher at 6740 with financials and materials leading improvements. Gains haven’t been broad based though with healthcare, industrials and property trusts falling most. The benchmark index is on track for a weekly improvement of 0.5%.

The big four banks are all higher with three of the majors advancing by more than 1.4%. ANZ Bank (ANZ) is the best with near 2.2% boost while Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is lagging its peers. Virgin Money UK (VUK) is jumping 9.7% with exit polls pointing to a majority victory for Boris Johnson’s conservative party at the UK general election, paving the way for a likely Brexit deal by the deadline of 31 January 2020.

Miners are also higher despite mixed trade for commodities. Iron ore fell but major players such as BHP Group (BHP), Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue (FMG) are all making gains by as much as 2%. A fall in gold prices has seen gold miners in negative territory. Rare earths miner Lynas (LYC) is climbing another 4% after a near 10% spike yesterday on reports the US Army is looking to fund a rare earths processing facility. LYC is likely to put in a tender application.

Energy and tech names are also mostly higher although Z Energy (ZEL), a NZ based fuel company, is sliding 11.8% as lower margins hit its FY20 earnings outlook. Earnings for the year are expected to fall as much as ~13% on previous guidance. Supermarkets Coles Group (COL) and Woolworths (WOW) are also weighing on the consumer staples sector.

The Aussie hit the best levels since late July, leaping to a high of 69.4 US cents before easing back to 69.16 US cents. There is no major economic data due on the local front today.

So far, 1b units have changed hands worth $2b with 549 stocks higher, 338 weaker and 341 unchanged.

Published by CommSec