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The Aussie market only saw roughly 25 minutes of trade before a market data issue saw trading halted on the ASX. It was a bright start to the new week in the limited trade seen with the ASX 200 jumping 80 points or 1.23% to 6,484. Strong moves locally followed a record close for the broader S&P 500 index in the US as investors remain focussed on COVID-19 vaccine optimism over the current record levels of daily cases and hospitalisations in the northern hemisphere.

Just after midday the ASX provided an update saying it has identified the issue causing this morning’s outage and is preparing a solution but has not yet provided a time for market re-opening.

Early on, gains were across the majority of sectors with only IT in reverse. Financials, materials, healthcare and energy were all leading advances with big name banks, miners and CSL contributing most to broader improvements. The big four banks are being led higher by a 2.5% lift for ANZ Bank (ANZ) but investment bank Macquarie Group (MQG) is down 0.5% as it trades exdividend. Miner BHP is 2% higher while CSL is adding 1.8%.

BNPL stocks have been among underperforming stocks following the release of a review by corporate regulator, the Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) in the segment. The number of buy now pay later transactions increased by 90% from 16.8 million in FY17/18 to 32 million in FY18/19. ASIC has announced several regulatory changes to be brought in from October 2021 while also developing a code of conduct. The largest local BNPL provider, Afterpay (APT) is down 0.3%.

Nine Entertainment (NEC) is also weaker by 1.8% with the media company announcing its CEO Hugh Marks would step down from the role in 2H21. Agribusiness, Elders (ELD) is down 0.6% following the release of its FY20 earnings where profit after tax rose 78% to $122.9 million.

Suncorp (SUN) is 1% higher as the financial services group expects $195 million (pre-tax) in provisions against its business for 1H21.

The Aussie dollar has remained trading this morning and is now buying 72.97 US cents.

Published by CommSec