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Local share is on track for a third consecutive day of gains as the market edges higher at lunch on Friday, overcoming a softer open. The ASX 200 is looking to recapture all-time highs set in yesterday’s session with the benchmark index lifting 10 points or 0.13% at 7,270 around midday.

At the lows of the morning, the index was down 16 points or 0.22% but has since turned that around in the past hour or so. The Aussie market is also on track for a third consecutive weekly improvement, currently up 1.31%.

Local moves follow a softer session on Wall Street overnight as investors digest US economic data. Data
released overnight, including initial jobless claims and payrolls came in better than expected, showing strong signs for the US economy and increasing some expectations that US Federal Reserve stimulus could be withdrawn sooner than previously expected. The allimportant nonfarm payrolls (jobs) data will be released tonight and closely watched by investors and economists alike.

Sector wise, financials are making the biggest positive impact along with healthcare and consumer staples. Most sectors are improving while materials lead declines with major miners BHP Group (BHP), Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) all lower. RIO is underperforming its peers with a 3% drop while BHP and FMG are slipping 2.5% each. The technology sector is another weight on the market with Afterpay (APT) and Xero (XRO) down 0.8% and 2.5% each respectively.

It has been a relatively quiet morning for company news. Rio Tinto announced it has appointed Mr Ben Wyatt as a non-executive director. Mr Wyatt was formerly Treasurer and Aboriginal Affairs Minister in the WA State Government.

Discount retailer, The Reject Shop (TRS) is tumbling 8%, having fallen as much as 15% at its morning lows. TRS says it has experienced challenging trading activity since its 1H21 results were released in February. Like-for-like sales are down 1.4% in the 48 weeks through to May compared to FY19 while supply chain costs remain high. FY21 sales are expected between $776m and $778m with earnings (EBIT) of $8-$10m.

The AUD remains around 2 month lows at 76.56 US cents.

Published by CommSec