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Aussie shares are lifting for the first time in three sessions, with the ASX 200 up by 0.7 per cent to 6,046.6 on Thursday. This keeps the index above 6,000pts and is on track to extend its winning streak to four straight months. Moves this week have been modest ahead of the August reporting season, while a lift in coronavirus cases is pushing some parts of the market lower.

Victoria has had a record 723 new COVID-19 cases in just 24 hours while NSW has identified 18. Stocks in airlines, airports, travel agents, casinos, owners of shopping centres and aged care providers are sliding. Vicinity Centres (VCX) is down 3.3 per cent, Scentre Group (SCG) is down 3.1 per cent, Webjet (WEB) down 2.4 per cent, Qantas (QAN) is losing 2.3 per cent, The Star (SGR), Flight Centre (FLT), Transurban (TCL), Crown (CWN) and Estia Health (EHE) are easing by between 0.5-1 per cent.

Rio Tinto (RIO) is up 0.35 per cent after releasing its first half results when the market closed yesterday. Earnings slipped by 20 per cent to US$3.32bn, while revenue dropped by 7 per cent. result was boosted by iron ore, with prices lifting by between 35 and 40 per cent from the April low, while its other commodities, including aluminium, copper and energy weighed.

Fortescue Metals (FMG) is up 2.5 per cent and briefly hit a fresh record high following a quarterly update. Australia’s third largest iron ore miner announced record shipments of 178mt over FY20 and 47.3mt over the quarter.

Macquarie (MQG) flagged only slightly lower operating profit over the past quarter (vs a year earlier). The investment bank expects market conditions to remain challenging due to COVID19 and the uncertain speed of the global economic recovery.

Shares in money manager, IOOF (IFL) and Sandfire Resource (SFR) are both down by around 5 per cent after posting quarterly updates. Gold miner, OceanaGold (OGC) is up 5 per cent following the release of its update.

Premier Investments (PMV) – the owner of Peter Alexander and Smiggle – is down just 0.5 per cent despite trading exdividend for its 34c distribution.

The price of oil, gold and iron ore are all lifting at lunch on Thursday. Shares in BHP, RIO, S32, FMG, WPL, ORG, STO are all improving.

3.1bn shares have changed hands so far today, worth $2.7bn. 682 stocks are up, 443 are down and 345 are
unchanged.

Published by CommSec