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The local market is pushing higher in the first few hours of trade and lifting for a fourth consecutive session at lunch on Thursday. The ASX 200 is 36 points or 0.5% higher to 6708 while the broader All Ordinaries index is lifting by a similar amount. The gains on the local market follows subdued improvements for US markets.

Advances have been across most sectors with property trusts the main decliner. Some of the biggest moves are coming from the local energy and material names with commodity prices generally higher overnight. Global oil prices rose as much as 2.7% as US stockpiles surprisingly fell. Major local producers such as Woodside (WPL) and
Santos (STO) are both 2% higher or more.

Miners are also lifting with base metals prices firming and iron ore climbing 1%. Major iron ore miners are lifting roughly 1%. Fortescue Metals (FMG) is the standout with a 1.3% rise following quarterly shipments of 42.2 million tonnes rising 5% on the same time last year while costs were reduced by 2% on the prior year. FMG has also reduced net debt by US$1.6 billion from the June quarter.

There have been a number of company updates with varying results. JB Hi-Fi (JBH) is one of the better performers on a trading update provided at its AGM. JBH’s Australian stores have seen comparable sales lift 3.7% in the quarter and outperforming last year’s growth. Sales at its NZ stores also improved but The Good Guys saw sales decline. Despite this, JBH re-affirmed its FY20 guidance for sales to be roughly $7.25 billion and its share are up 8%.

Gaming group, Star Entertainment (SGR) is also rising with domestic revenue up 1.5% so far in the half and international VIP revenue also higher. SGR expects annualised earnings (EBITDA) of $300-$310 million. SGR shares are 4.5% higher. Elsewhere, wealth manager AMP Limited (AMP) is lifting 1.6% on its quarterly update where net outflows continue for its wealth management business.

Qantas (QAN) is one of the main laggards, down 3% even with record revenue over the September quarter. QAN expects negative impacts to its 1H20 profit from protests in HK, US-China trade and a weaker trading environment.

The Aussie dollar is also softer, buying 68.46 US cents. So far, 1.3b units have traded worth $1.9b with 563 stocks higher, 372 lower and 353 unchanged.

Published by CommSec