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The Aussie market is off to a strong start to the new week. The ASX 200 is looking to snap two consecutive losses last Thursday and Friday with an advance of 89 points or 1.6% to 5588 around midday. This comes even with a mixed lead from Wall St where major US indices saw both small gains and losses on Friday.

Locally, the winners are easily outweighing losers with every sector improving and a large majority of the top 200 stocks in positive territory. Several sectors are lifting more than 2% with healthcare, consumer discretionary, energy, industrials and IT among them. Materials are underperforming with a modest rise of 0.6%.

Travel retailers are among the biggest individual improvers as Flight Centre (FLT) rallies 15% and Webjet (WEB) gains 14%. Expectations that interstate travel could recommence in the coming months is adding optimism to travel names. Other retailers such as Lovisa (LOV) and Super Retail Group (SUL) are also experiencing strong improvements. LOV is up 7.5% with SUL 4.5% higher.

Afterpay (APT) hit another all-time high with a fresh record price of $47.94 in the first few hours of trade. Just after midday, it is slightly off that high but is still 7.5% firmer. The buy now pay later provider announced several changes to its board of directors this morning, including a new director from the US to help with its expansion in the region.

Nine Entertainment (NEC) is 5.8% higher after selling its NZ news business, Stuff Litd, for NZ$1 (not a typo) to Stuff’s current CEO. NEC will retain ownership of a printing plant in Wellington and lease it back to Stuff while it will also receive proceeds from the sale of Stuff Fibre (NZ broadband internet business).

A major decliner so far has been almond grower, Select Harvest (SHV), which is down nearly 12% after releasing its first half profit results after market close last Friday. The company has seen supply chain impacts due to Covid-19 hit profit and earnings, with net profit (NPAT) down 13% and EBITDA falling 10%.

The Aussie dollar remains around 65.3 US cents with no major economic releases due today. Preliminary
international trade data fell in April, from a record month in March. So far, 1.9b units have traded worth $2.2b with 773 stocks higher, 328 lower and 329 unchanged.

Published by CommSec