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Local shares have continued to gather positive momentum with the ASX 200 rising for a third consecutive session at lunch on Tuesday. The index is climbing a further 59 points or 0.9% to 6791 as Wall Street rallies to fresh record highs as signs of US-China trade progress and a raft of M&A activity buoyed investor sentiment.

Gains have been across every single sector with financials also lifting for the first time in five sessions. Westpac Bank (WBC) is experiencing its first positive session in the same time with the bank lifting 1.9%. Australia’s second largest bank announced that CEO Brian Hartzer will be stepping down next Monday while chairman of the board Lindsay Maxsted will bring forward his retirement to mid-2020 once a permanent CEO is found. Current CFO, Peter King will fill in as interim CEO.

The remaining big four banks are all higher too but regional banks aren’t performing as well. The Bank of Queensland (BOQ) is falling 6% as it resumes trade after raising $250 million from institutional clients at a 10% discount to its previous closing price. BOQ will still raise a further $25 million from retail clients as it looks to strengthen its balance sheet and add to its capital buffers.

The energy sector is the most improved, aided by a higher oil price but also Caltex (CTX) which is jumping 12% after being in a trading halt for the first hour of trade. The fuel supplier confirmed that it has received an improved $8.6 billion conditional takeover offer at $34.50/share. CTX shares also firmed 7% yesterday on a business update.

Gold miner, Evolution Mining (EVN) is advancing by 1.7% as it looks to acquire a Canadian gold mine complex for US$375 million (~A$553 million) in cash and an additional US$100 million on any resource discovery. EVN will fund the deal through $600 million in unsecured loans. Elsewhere, Mesoblast (MSB) is 2% higher with the biomedical company confirming a smaller first quarter loss of US$5.5 million after tax, compared to US$19.5 million in the prior year.

The Aussie dollar fell in US trade and is holding near 67.76 US cents. The local unit fell on a stronger greenback but did not react too much to the lowest weekly consumer confidence reading in four years. So far, 1b units have traded worth $1.9b with 539 stocks higher, 388 lower and 385 unchanged.

Published by CommSec