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Aussie shares are a touch softer on Friday, with the ASX 200 down 0.11 per cent to 6,095.1. This makes it the first decline in five days, with the market still up 5.2 per cent this week. On Thursday, local equities hit five-week highs, with gains over the prior four days easily recouping last week’s decline. The market has also bounced off an intraday low over the past 30 minutes and sits just below the 6,100pt level.

The S&P 500 rose by 0.8 per cent overnight while European stocks hit three-week highs. Hopes of further US stimulus has continued to help the American markets although it has been messy on this front in recent days. Reports today suggest that President Trump might announce his interest in a large-scale stimulus deal two days after shutting the door on further negotiations ahead of the November election. President Trump’s condition also continues to improve as his doctors confirm he has completed his therapy for COVID-19 and is expected to hold public events by Saturday.

Gains from gold miners, energy and some technology stocks are helping to minimise the market’s losses. Energy stocks are standing out thanks to a 3.1 per cent lift in the oil price. This has been partly driven by Hurricane Delta approaching the Gulf of Mexico, which has resulted in the closure of some facilities and has forced 1.7 per cent of the world’s oil supply to shut for the time being. The hurricane is expected to make landfall in 24 hours.

CIMIC (CIM) is up 6 per cent following the release of a solid profit result. The construction group has posted a $474m profit between January and September. The company has been impacted by COVID-19 in 2020, which has resulted in delays to new projects and a slowdown in revenue. The fact CIM has returned to growth has been well received.

Newcrest (NCM) has approved Stage 2 of the Cadia expansion, which it estimates will cost $175m to carry out. NCM’s gains of 2.5 ner cent are largely in-line with the rest of the subsector, including Northern Star (NST), Saracen (SAR) and SBM. CSL is under pressure on Friday and will pay investors a dividend today. Harvey Norman (HVN) is down 3.5 per cent as it trades ex-dividend.

Buy-now-pay-later stocks are coming off the boil. Optimism that a big spend budget could boost consumer spending, together with some record quarterly results in recent days, has helped Zip (Z1P), Sezzle (SZL), Openpay (OPY), Splitit (SPT) and Afterpay (APT) surge by between 10-15 per cent this week despite most declining by as much as 6.5 per cent Friday.

There also is some profit taking on the banks. The majors have surged by an average of 7 per cent this week.

3.5bn shares have changed hands so far, worth a healthy $3.2bn. 675 stocks are up, 439 down and 399 are unchanged.

Published by by CommSec