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The Aussie market is higher after a solid lead from Wall Street. The ASX 200 is 20 points or 0.3% higher at 6673. Markets have been buoyed by further US-China trade
optimism with a possibility for the phase 1 trade deal to be signed in November and reports that scheduled tariff hikes by the US could be scrapped if negotiations continue to go well.

Gains have been mostly widespread in the early part of trade. Resource sectors are among the most improved after the first few hours of trade. This is despite a fall in commodity prices in overnight trade. Global oil prices fell close to 1% with a similar decline for iron ore. That being said, Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue Metals (FMG) are both more than 1% higher, BHP Group (BHP) is lifting 0.6%. The standout is South32 (S32), which is climbing 4.7%.

Whitehaven Coal (WHC) shares are gaining 4% on a trading update with production lifting by 23% while sales were 14% higher on the same time last year. It was a less
positive reaction for lithium miner, Orocobre (ORE), with shares dipping 4% even with a record September quarter for production which jumped 35% on the year before. Sales revenue still fell 21% on lower sales volumes and softer market prices.

Healthcare and consumer discretionary stocks are underperforming, weighed by stocks releasing trading updates at AGMs. Among the health names, Cochlear (COH) is one of the main drags. The hearing aid maker is sliding 4% as it lowers its earnings per share (EPS) targets from between 10%-20% compound annual growth over three years to 7.5%-12.4% over four years.

Another company holding its AGM is retailer, Super Retail Group (SUL), which owns brands Rebel, Supercheap Auto, Macpac and BCF. SUL is another laggard as shares are
down 4.6%. Total sales and life for like sales have both lifted for the group but that growth is due to greater discounting which has hit margins. Mirvac (MGR) is 0.8% higher with the property group commenting that the residential property markets in Sydney and Melbourne have turned a corner as inquiries increase. MGR expects
this to lift sales in due course.

The Aussie dollar is also firming, buying 68.8 US cents. So far, 1.1b units have traded worth $2b with 504 stocks higher, 443 lower and 347 unchanged.

Published by CommSec