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Aussie shares are surging for a fourth straight day and have hit fresh eight-month highs, with the ASX 200 lifting by 1.6 per cent to 6,400.5. The catalyst is US pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer saying its COVID-19 vaccine has proven to be 90 per cent effective in its latest trials. While it still needs to jump through a number of hoops before hitting the market, stocks globally surged by as much as 4.5 per cent overnight. This also follows Monday’s strong gains, which reacted well to a Biden win in the US election and what looks to be a divided Congress.

While the market is broadly higher, names which fell most in recent months during the pandemic are some of today’s best improvers. This includes energy stocks, which are up more than 8 per cent and are having one of their best days of the year. This follows an 8.5 per cent jump in oil prices overnight as transportation accounts for two thirds of the world’s energy consumption.

Travel stocks are also surging, with Qantas (QAN), Sydney Airport (SYD), Flight Centre (FLT) and Webjet (WEB) jumping by between 10- 15 per cent for most of the morning. Progress on a vaccine could mean that borders reopen a little sooner than feared and is a positive for travel. Note that this is still early on in the piece and the results would still need to be peer reviewed and approved by regulators. In addition, the production and availability of a potential vaccine means it isn’t a short-term solution.

Banks are jumping by as much as 5.5 per cent and are outperforming the broader market.

The stay at home stocks and other that surged at the height of the pandemic are struggling. This includes tech stocks, gold miners, online retailers and a number of healthcare companies.

Outperforming online names like (KGN), Temple & Webster (TPW) and Redbubble (RBL) are falling heavily, buy-now-paylater companies like Zip Co (Z1P) and Afterpay (SPT) are down heavily, supermarket chains Woolwortths (WOW) and Coles (COL) are declining and tech stocks like Xero (XRO), APX and NXT are all down.

Fisher & Paykel (FPH) is down by as much as 10 per cent. The company’s shares have surged by ~50 per cent this year, benefiting from demand for its respiratory support and humidification products used to treat some COVID-19 patients in hospitals. Ansell (ANN) is down by 9 per cent. The stock has significantly outperformed the broader market this year due to strong demand for its surgical gloves and other protective equipment. Goodman Group (GMG) – which has signed contracts to build fulfilment centres recently for retail giants like Amazon – is down ~7 per cent.

James Hardie (JHX) is down ~5 per cent after handing down its quarterly results. Over the half, net sales rose by 4 per cent to US$1363.1m while net profit slumped by 49 per cent to US$96.2m. JHX has reaffirmed its outlook for the year. Over the quarter, the result was driven by its US and Asia Pacific businesses.

3.3bn shares have changed hands so far, worth $6.4bn. 699 stocks are up, 613 are down and 300 are flat.

Published by CommSec