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The Aussie market is starting April with an improvement and adding to gains over the March month and quarter. The ASX 200 is lifting 26 points or 0.4% to 6,816 at lunch.

Trading volumes are on the lighter side ahead of the Easter holidays where the ASX will be closed tomorrow and on Monday.

Gains for materials and technology are driving improvements while losses for financials, industrials and consumer staples are holding gains back.

Miners are adding most to the broader index with big iron ore names making most of the difference even as iron ore prices fell 1.1% overnight. Rio Tinto (RIO) is leading the way with a 1.8% improvement. Gold miners are also making gains with Newcrest Mining (NCM) lifting 3% and Northern Star (NST) also climbing 3%.

Afterpay (APT) is boosting the technology as it rises 2.3% while Xero (XRO) is adding 2.7%. The accounting software firm confirmed the completion of its recently announced acquisitions of workforce management platform Planday and e-invoicing network provider Tickstar.

The big four banks are weaker with Commonwealth Bank (CBA) leading losses with a 0.3% drop. CBA announced the completion of its CommInsure Life divestment to AIA Australia while also acknowledging civil action by the Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) against alleged misleading and deceptive conduct over account fee waivers between 2010 – 2019. CBA has made remediation payments of $64.2 million.

Wealth manager, AMP Limited (AMP) confirmed after much media speculation that its CEO, Francesco De Ferrari is stepping down from the role after the completion of AMP’s portfolio review. He will be replaced by Ms Alexis George currently Deputy CEO of ANZ Bank (ANZ). AMP is 5.5% higher.

Boral Ltd (BLD) is also gaining 5.7% as it finalised the sale of its 50% stake in USG Boral and announced a share buy back to investors from profits of the sale.

The AUD buys 75.83 US cents on mixed international trade and retail sales data.

Published by CommSec