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The local sharemarket is following solid gains on Wall Street despite the US election result still undecided with several key battleground states remaining too close to call. The ASX 200 is approaching intraday highs around midday with the index gaining 60 points or 1% to 6,123.

The IT and healthcare sectors are leading a broad improvement with consumer and financial stocks also
among the major advancers. The only sectors in reverse are resources with energy and materials in the red. Energy is falling most despite a jump of close to 4% for global oil prices in overnight trade.

Biotech giant, CSL Ltd (CSL) is the single biggest contributor to market gains with a lift of 3.3%, adding ~14 points or close to a quarter of the total ASX 200 improvement.

Another major contributor is the National Bank (NAB) which is leading its big 4 banking peers higher on the release of its FY20 results today. NAB’s FY cash earnings fell 37% to $3.71 billion, with cash earnings minus notable items falling by 26% to $4.72 billion. Credit impairments nearly tripled to $2.76 billion, heavily impacted by COVID-19. The final dividend was also slashed to $0.30 per share. NAB shares price is up 2.1%.

Inghams (ING) has been a big winner with the poultry grower surging 14% on a trading update as it holds a virtual AGM as well. ING has seen poultry volumes lift 6.3% in 1Q21 on the year before while lifting 7.5% on 4Q20. Feed costs are also expected to fall in 2H21. ING has revised its dividend payout ratio to 60-80% of Underlying NPAT. Flight Centre (FLT) is up 4% as it also holds an AGM.

Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) is one of the bigger decliners with the wine maker sliding 6%. TWE announced after market yesterday for retrospective tariffs on wine imports in bottles of less than 2 litres by the China Alcoholic Drinks Association (CADA). TWE is also holding an AGM today.

Property groups, Goodman (GMG) and Scentre Group (SCG) are also both higher on providing quarterly operational updates.

The Aussie dollar has also jumped around in the past day and is buying 71.7 US cents.

Published by CommSec