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The Aussie market rally is continuing on Thursday but is abating. Local shares are still climbing for a fourth day in a row and the ASX 200 briefly breached 6,000 points for the first time since March 9. But the index is now only 30 points or 0.5% higher at 5,972, having peaked at 6,040 earlier.

Leading market improvements have been financials, healthcare and consumer stocks. While the industrials and resource sectors are in the red with energy producers and gold miners leading declines.

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is leading the big four banks with a gain of 1.6%. The major lenders were up around 3% at the best levels of the day. Westpac (WBC), which is 0.5% higher, released its findings into money laundering allegations by AUSTRAC, blaming it on technology and human error for the 23 million breaches.

One of the biggest decliners is Nufarm (NUF) which is down 12% after releasing an update yesterday with the crop protection firm expecting COVID19 to impact its Q4 business performance.

Local moves are following another session of improvements on Wall Street as investors globally remain
focussed on the economic recovery post lockdown as economies reopen and restrictions lift. US economic data including private payroll, factory orders and services data, while still weak, was still better than expectations.

Our own international trade and retail sales data for April was released this morning. Retail sales fell 17.7% for the month with the COVID19 lockdown the major cause of the decline in spending and turns around the 8.5% lift in March as shoppers panic bought grocery goods like toilet paper and pasta. There were record falls in café and restaurant spending as well as clothing and footwear.

Australia’s trade surplus narrowed to $8.8 billion down $1.65 billion on March, but beat Bloomberg consensus of a $7.5 billion surplus. Both exports and imports fell in the month with exports down 11% and imports fell 10%.

The Aussie dollar is continuing to give up some gains over the past few days and is buying roughly 69 US cents from a high just shy of 70 US cents yesterday. So far, 2.5b units worth $4.4b with 594 stocks higher, 537 weaker and 360 unchanged.

Published by CommSec