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Gains are continuing into a third straight session for the local market with the ASX 200 index lifting 41 points or 0.65% to 6399.9 at lunch on Thursday. Aussie shares are following a rally on Wall Street overnight on persistent expectations by investors that the US Fed will lower interest rates at some point in 2019.

Advances on the local front have been quite broad based with all sectors bar the materials trading higher. The major banks continue to do much of the heavy lifting with ANZ Bank (ANZ) the most improved, up 1.1%. Bank of Queensland (BOQ) is lifting 0.7% after announcing Mr George Frazis as its new Managing Director & CEO, effective September 5. Mr Frazis was previously the head of consumer banking at Westpac.

After experiencing some of the heaviest losses yesterday, the real estate sector is rebounding with the largest percentage gains so far. Utilities and the IT sectors are also seeing improvements well above 1%. Energy names had a weaker start to the morning’s trade after a surprise surge in US stockpiles of crude saw the oil price fall by as much as 3.3%.

Santos (STO) is lifting 2.1% on a positive update with a large amount of oil reserves at its Dorado well, situated off the coast of WA. STO has an 80% stake in the oil and gas asset with a 20% stake held by Carnavon Petroleum (CVN). CVN shares have jumped 10% on the news.

In other company news, logistics software firm, Wisetech Global (WTC) is improving another 5.5% as the firm holds an investor conference. It has provided an FY19 revenue guidance of $326-339 million which would be an uplift of 47-53% on FY18 while Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) would come in between $100-105 million.

On the economic front, Australia’s trade surplus in April has come in at $4.871 billion, slightly under an expected surplus of $5 billion. The Aussie dollar is buying 69.7 US cents after easing from a high of 70 US cents against the greenback in US trade overnight.

So far, 1.2b units have been traded worth $2.1b with 571 stocks higher, 435 weaker and 336 unchanged.

Published by CommSec