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After a mostly flat start to the day, local shares are lifting at lunch on Thursday with the ASX 200 gaining 35 points or 0.6% to 6,152 around midday. This follows what was another positive session on Wall Street where the S&P500 and NASDAQ both hit record highs during the session.

Most sectors are improving with materials, consumer staples and healthcare lifting most. Financials are trading flat after weighing earlier in the day while energy, utilities and property trusts are falling are trading in the red.

Among the individual movers, CSL Ltd (CSL) is making the biggest difference to broader gains with the biotech firm gaining 1.8%. Miners Fortescue Metals (FMG) and BHP Group (BHP) are adding 2.2% and 1.1% each respectively. Woolworths (WOW) is a big mover, rising 2.9% following the release of its FY20 profit results. The supermarket giant saw sales of $63.7 billion, lifting across most of its business with supermarkets, drinks and Big W all improving while the Hotels business was hampered by COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Reported net profit more than halved though to 1.2 billion mostly on restructuring costs related to the upcoming spin-off of its Hotels business.

Also to release profit results was Afterpay (APT) with the buy-now pay-later provider more than doubling its underlying sales to $11.1 billion, and active customers to 9.9 million over the past financial year. The company also nearly halved its net loss for FY20 to $22.9 million. APT shares have swung between small losses and gains and is 0.5% lower. Fellow BNPL stock, ZipCo (Z1P) is down 6.5% having also announced FY20 profit results. Revenue was up 91% to $161 million and an 87% increase in transaction volumes to $2.1 billion. Z1P’s net loss jumped 80% to 20 million.

Flight Centre (FLT) is up 1% even as the travel company reported a net loss for FY20 of $662 million from a $263million profit the year before. Total transactions fell 35% as the global COVID-19 pandemic hit the business and industry hard in the second half. Nine Entertainment (NEC) is down 3%, Appen (APX) is sliding 9.5%, Link Group (LNK) is also 9% lower while Reece Limited (REH) is up 14% on profit numbers.

The AUD is buying 72.3 US cents as private capex fell 5.9% in the June Quarter.

Published by CommSec