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Aussie shares enjoyed another strong open with the ASX 200 reaching fresh all-time highs early on Tuesday’s session. The benchmark index reached a new peak of 7,576. After midday it is 1.5 points higher at 7,539 as it follows what was a mixed session on US markets.

The local market did fade after a strong opening hour as NSW reported its own record for daily COVID-19 cases with 356 cases in the past day.

The technology sector is leading market improvements while financials, materials, communications with both consumer discretionary and staples also climbing. Industrials are the worst performer while energy, healthcare and property trusts also decline.

Company news has been dominated by companies releasing profit results. James Hardie (JHX) is rising 4% on the release of quarterly earnings. First quarter profit jumped to US$121.4 million from US$9.4 million a year ago while net sales were 35% higher. JHX has also raised its full year earnings guidance as margins also improve. The company has now seen nine consecutive quarters of growth.

Coronado Global Resources (CRN) is down 2.3% after releasing half year results. The metallurgical coal miner experienced a 12% lift in revenue to US$800 million and its net loss shrunk by 22% to $96 million loss for the half. CRN expects to benefit from a rise in coal prices over the second half. It did not declare an interim dividend.

Investment manager, Challenger (CGF) is down 0.6% on the release of its FY21 earnings. Headline net profit came in at $592 million compared to a $416 million loss a year ago while normalised net profit after tax fell 19% at $279 million. CGF’s life business saw big improvements with record sales of $6.9 billion, a jump of 35%. CGF is apying a final dividend of 10.5 cents per share from no final dividend this time last year.

I.T. company Megaport (MP1) is 3.6% higher after the company reported a net loss of $55 million for the past financial year. Revenue was 35% stronger at $78.3 million but it decided not to pay a final dividend.

In economic news, the weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence reading fell to a 9.5 month of 98.6 (where a number below 100 indicates more pessimism than optimism. The AUD has fallen to 73.18 US cents.

Published by CommSec