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The Aussie market has further improved its position into new record territory as we begin another trading week. The ASX 200 lifted to a fresh all-time high of 7,567 while at lunch is 6 points or 0.1% to 7,543. Local moves follow US markets touching record highs to close out last week.

Financials have been the main driver of market improvements as the big four banks all lift between 1.3%
and 1.5%. Property and healthcare are also experiencing smaller advances. These gains have been partly offset by losses for IT, materials, industrials and consumer discretionary.

Suncorp (SUN) is one of the best performers on the ASX 200 after the financial group released its full year profit result this morning. SUN saw significant growth of 42% in cash earnings to $1.06 billion. This was well supported by its banking profit which surged 69% to $419 million while Australian Insurance profit was 42% higher at $547 million. The final dividend was also increased to 48 cents per share while the group is also looking to conduct a $250 million share buy-back. SUN is up 8%.

Toll-road operator, Transurban (TCL) is 1.9% softer having released its FY21 results, reporting a net profit of $3.3 billion from a $11 million loss a year ago. Profit was propped up by a sale of a 50% stake in several North American toll roads. Removing the asset sale, TCL saw a loss of $256 million. Toll road revenue declined slightly as a result. The COVID-19 Delta variant is also creating
uncertainty for traffic growth particularly in Sydney with current lockdowns.

In other news, Westpac (WBC) has announced the sale of its Australian Life Insurance business for $900 million to TAL Dai-ichi Life Australia. It has entered into an exclusive 20-year strategic alliance for sales and distribution of the product to WBC customers. WBC is 1.5% higher.

Insurance Australia Group (IAG) is adding 4.2% as it announced several changes to the company board of
directors at its October AGM, including the retirement of its chairman, Elizabeth Bryan who will be replaced by current director Tom Pockett. Another director, Duncan Boyle, will also retire at the AGM.

The Aussie dollar has weakened against the USD and is now back to 73.52 US cents having peaked above 74.2 US cents mid last week.

Published by CommSec