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The Aussie market has successfully resumed trade following Monday’s outage. The ASX 200 is adding 23
points or 0.3% to yesterday’s brief positive momentum following further positive updates on the COVID-19 vaccine front. This time it was Moderna, announcing its trial vaccine has a 94.5% efficacy rate against the virus. The Dow Jones and S&P500 closed at all-time highs.

Locally, the financials and energy sectors are lifting the most while materials are also providing solid support. Energy stocks are being supported by a 3% lift in global oil prices as the vaccine updates continue to add to demand expectations for oil. Oil Search (OSH) is 6.2% higher and Beach Energy (BPT) is up 5.6%. Woodside (WPL) is lifting 3.1% while Santos (STO) is 3.5% higher.

While local oil & gas names are seeing some of the larger percentage gains, the big banks and miners are doing much of the heavy lifting when it comes to contributions to broader market improvements. Among the big four lenders, ANZ Bank (ANZ) and Westpac (WBC) are leading with gains of 2.3% and 2.5%. National Bank (NAB) is 2% higher while Commonwealth Bank (CBA) lifts 1%. Meanwhile BHP Group (BHP) is adding 2.9%. Those five companies alone are adding 22 points to the ASX 200 index.

Other stocks to improve include travel names with the likes of Qantas (QAN) up 1.5%. Flight Centre (FLT) and Webjet (WEB) are also advancing 3% and 2.9% on vaccine hopes while Helloworld Travel (HLO) has shot up by 12% even as most states and territories increase border restrictions against South Australia on its most recent cluster of COVID-19 cases.

Today’s losses are among stay-at-home type stocks and sectors. Technology and communications are among the hardest hit while safe havens such as gold stocks also decline. Among tech names, BNPL provider Afterpay (APT) is down 3.3% as it holds its AGM. APT also announced cofounder Nick Molnar will join Anthony Eisen as co-CEO. Smaller BNPL name, Openpay (OP) is 0.4% firmer having signed an agreement with Kogan.com (KGN).

The Aussie dollar is now back above 73.2 US cents. Weekly consumer confidence has risen for 11 consecutive weeks and rebounded back to February levels at 106.6. Any reading above 100 denotes more optimists than pessimists.

Published by CommSec