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Aussie shares are lifting modestly despite a weak lead from Wall Street and a flat start this morning. The ASX 200 is up 0.43 per cent to 7,301.7 thanks to gains across most sectors and is being led higher by property stocks, tech and healthcare.

Iress (IRE) in a short statement this morning said it ‘…can confirm that it has not received any direct approach.’ This was in response to an article in The Australian Financial Review suggesting potential interest for a 10 per cent stake in the software company. IRE shares are lifting by 9 per cent.

The ACCC said it would not oppose Woolworths’ (WOW) acquisition of 65 per cent of shares in the wholesale food distributor PFD Food Services. PFD is a wholesale food distributor, purchasing a range of food products from suppliers and distributing them to businesses such as cafés, hotels and restaurants. PFD has around 15 per cent of the wholesale food distribution segment. WOW will own 65 per cent of PFD following the acquisition.

Austal (ASB) is down 3.5 per cent. ASIC has commenced civil penalty proceedings against the shipbuilder regarding an investigation ‘…into historical matters concerning the Company’s market disclosures with respect to its Littoral Combat Ship program’ pre-July 2016. ASB edged higher on Wednesday after winning a US$44m contract with the US Navy to develop and build an autonomous capability for a vessel already under construction.

PointsBet (PBH) has secured an agreement to provide online and retail sports wagering in the US state of Maryland. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan only signed legislation allowing both online and retail sports betting in the state less than one month ago. The agreement involves PointsBet and the Riverboat Group partnering for an initial term of ten years. PointsBet will pay to the Riverboat Group market access fees as well as a portion of gaming revenues. PBH shares are up 1.1 per cent.

Mortgage Choice (MOC) shareholders are meeting to vote on a proposed $1.95 per share takeover offer by REA Group (REA). MOC shares are up 0.25 per cent.

Boral (BLD) is advising shareholders reject a takeover proposal from Seven Group due to it undervaluing the building products company. Seven is offering $6.50 per share. An independent expert appointed by BLD considers an approximate fair market value for the company is between $8.25 to $9.13 per Boral share.

2.3bn shares have changed hands so far today, worth $2.9bn. 702 stocks are up, 584 are down and 410 are flat.

Published by CommSec