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The Australian sharemarket is lifting for a fourth day to a fresh all-time high, with the ASX 200 up 0.5 per cent to 7,624.5. This takes the gains this week to ~1.1 per cent and currently keeps the market on track to extend its winning streak to an 11th straight month. US stocks were mixed last night, however the broad S&P 500 index edged higher by 0.3 per cent.

Mining and energy stocks are the only losers at midday, following a strengthening greenback and softer commodity prices. The iron ore price fell by close to 3 per cent yesterday and has slumped by ~30 per cent from the record highs hit in recent months. This is partly due to concerns of softer demand for the commodity in China. Rio Tinto (RIO) and BHP are both down by ~1 per cent so far today.

Rio Tinto (RIO) slumped by 6.9 per cent on Thursday after trading ex-dividend for its largest payment ever. Australia’s biggest producer of iron ore will distribute a $7.60 per share dividend to eligible shareholders in late September. Keep in mind that iron ore miners’ profits have surged over the past year thanks to significantly higher commodity prices. BHP is set to release its results next week.

Baby Bunting (BBN) is down 7 per cent despite posting improved annual sales, profits and declaring a larger dividend. The specialty retailer of baby products posted a 15.6 per cent lift in sales to $468.4m, 54 per cent growth in online sales, improved margins and a 76 per cent jump in statutory profit to $17.5m. BBN will pay eligible shareholders an 8.3c per share dividend. This is higher than the 6.4c paid 12 months earlier.

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is down by 1.7 per cent and is losing ground for a second straight day after hitting a record high on Wednesday. Australia’s largest bank will trade ex-dividend on 17 August for its $2 per share final dividend. The dividend is double its payment 12 months earlier.

COVID-19’s spread continues, with NSW reporting a record 390 new locally acquired cases in the 24 hours to 8pm AEST last night. There were 15 new cases identified in Victoria and a further seven in Queensland. Shares in Sydney Airport (SYD) are down 0.1 per cent, Qantas (QAN) is up 0.7 per cent and Flight Centre (FLT) is a touch higher.

2.7bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $3.5bn. 781 stocks are up, 548 are down and 391 are flat.

Published by CommSec