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Aussie shares have hit record highs for a third consecutive day while the ASX 200 has cracked through 7000pts for the first time on record. The index is up by 37pts or 0.5 per cent to 7031.4, receiving a boost from the US and China finally signing the Phase One trade deal.

At around 5am AEDT this morning, both the US and China signed the first part of a trade deal at the White House. This represents a pause in the trade war, should boost the sale of American goods to China (mainly manufacturing products), could further open Chinese markets to foreign firms and should stop tariffs from increasing for now. The market’s reaction was generally muted however as the signing was well telegraphed and expected. There will also be plenty left to negotiate in 2020, including possible cuts to tariffs and government subsidies to Chinese companies. Phase two talks are expected to continue until at least the US elections are out of the way.

Almost all sectors are rising at lunch, with improvements from technology stocks, supermarket chains and financials providing a healthy boost.

Energy stocks are coming under some pressure with a report last night highlighting a significant lift in US oil inventories in recent weeks.

CSL Limited (CSL) is up 0.6 per cent, becoming the first company on the Australian market to rise above $300 per share this morning. The blood products maker and second largest company on the ASX also received a broker upgrade. CSL has been a very consistent performer over the past decade, with its shares lifting from $35 at the start of 2010.

Clothing retailer Mosaic (MOZ) continues to slide, down 5 per cent this morning and ~25 per cent so far this week. The company formerly known as Noni-B warned of a big slide in sales in the tail-end of 2019 on Tuesday.

South32 (S32) warned of lower full year coal production and a bigger than hoped lift in costs due to its South African energy coal business.

Financials are lifting strongly on Thursday. The big banks are up by around 0.7 per cent, while insurers like QBE and IAG are lifting by as much as 3 per cent.

1.4bn shares have changed hands today worth $2.8bn. 607 stocks are up, 401 down and 324 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec