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A brand new month has ushered in another record high, with the ASX 200 lifting by 1.36 per cent thanks to gains across all sectors at midday. The index briefly cracked 7500pts for the first time ever this morning and is currently having its best day in six weeks. Despite a NSW bank holiday, volume is
robust so far.

The Australian sharemarket has just completed its 10th straight month of gains for the first time since 2007 and hit two record highs last week. Investors have looked past declines from US markets on Friday, lockdowns and the spread of COVID-19 in some parts of the country. The Reserve Bank is set to hold a monthly meeting on Tuesday, with economists and analysts watching closely for a potential reversal on July’s decision to slightly reduce bond-buying purchases from September.

Queensland recorded 13 new locally acquired cases over the past day, leading to an extension of South-East Queensland’s lockdown to 4pm on Sunday. The number of COVID-19 cases in Greater Sydney has eased to 207 after hitting 239 yesterday. Greater Sydney has been in lockdown for five weeks and is set to remain so until August 28.

On the economic front, property prices rose by 1.6 per cent in July according to the CoreLogic Home Value Index. Prices are up 16.1 per cent on the year, making it the strongest annual growth rate in 17 years. The data is the most comprehensive read on Australian property prices monthly.
The number of job advertisements in July fell by 0.5 per cent, marking the first fall in 14 months.

Some iron ore mining stocks are coming under pressure after a 7.4 per cent tumble in the iron ore price due to demand concerns in China. BHP, Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue (FMG) all hit record highs last week.

Afterpay (APT) is up 23 per cent after agreeing to a $39bn takeover deal from US payments group, Square. The American company is led by Twitter’s founder Jack Dorsey. The deal is at a 30 per cent premium to APT’s share price on Friday. Its rival Zip Co (Z1P) is also lifting.

Oil Search (OSH) is up 6.5 per cent after receiving an improved takeover offer from Santos (STO). The OSH Board seems set to recommend shareholders accept the bid.

2.4bn shares have change hands so far today worth $3.3bn. 752 stocks are up, 548 down and 406 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec