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Local shares are firming for a third day in a row. The ASX 200 is 43 points or 0.6% higher at 6,813. The index has broken above the 6,800 point mark for the first time since late February 2020.

Gains domestically have followed record closing highs on Wall Street with the inauguration of Joe Biden as 46th President of the United States.

The improvements on the ASX 200 have been rather broad based with nearly all sectors higher. Technology stocks are outperforming with financials, consumer discretionary and staples also among the big improvers. Industrials are falling most.

Afterpay (APT) continues its strong run of late with the buynow pay later provider closing in on $150 per share, hitting a new all-time high of $149.20 earlier today, making it the fourth record high in the past five sessions. The stock is now 5.5% higher.

Fellow BNPL provider ZipCo (Z1P) is another big winner today. The stock is rallying 11.8% on a strong December quarter update. Z1P saw record quarterly revenue of $102 million, rising 88% with transaction volumes also a record $1.6 billion. Z1P also enjoyed a strong lift in customers, 5.7 million in total, and merchants.

Plenty of other companies have also provided quarterly or trading updates ahead of the February earnings season. Gold miners Saracen (SAR) and Northern Star (NST) both released solid updates. The two companies are looking to complete a merger in the coming months and are on track to meet guidance for production and cost.

Graphite miner, Syrah Resources (SYR) is 9% higher on its update. South32 (S32) is down 1.3% on its mixed operations update while Woodside (WPL) is also down 0.5%. Cleanaway (CWY) has dropped 9% on news its CEO will be stepping down this year.

The December jobs report was mostly in line with expectations. Employment rose by 50,000 with the unemployment rate falling to 6.6%. Both full-time and parttime saw lifts while the participation rate was also higher.

The Aussie dollar is firmer and now buys 77.68 US cents.

Published by CommSec