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Aussie shares continue to push higher for a sixth session on Wednesday. The ASX 200 index was higher by as much as 40 points within the first hour of trade but has since faded from those levels to be higher by 13 points or 0.2% to 6,559 at lunch.

Materials have been the main support for the broader market with iron ore miners lifting on the back of a 5.5% jump in iron ore prices. The price jump has been fuelled by supply concerns. BHP Group (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are both climbing over 2% while Fortescue Metals (FMG) is outperforming its counterparts as it advances 4.9%.

Communications, utilities and the IT sectors are also contributing to improvements. Telco, Vocus Group (VOC) is lifting another 1.9% after a near 9% gain yesterday on a preliminary takeover offer from utility company AGL Energy (AGL) for ~$3 billion. AGL are also recovering from a 7% decline yesterday to lift 1.6% so far.

Losses for larger financial and healthcare names are restricting gains as the big four banks all give back some their recent gains. The ANZ Bank (ANZ) is the worst performer of the four majors as it slides 1% while Westpac (WBC) is outperforming with a 0.6% loss. CSL Ltd (CSL) is the main drag in the health sector as it eases 1.9%, after improving more than 4.5% yesterday.

In company news, Wesfarmers (WES) has lifted 0.4% after agreeing to acquire online retailer Catch Group, owner of catch.com.au, for $230 million. WES plans to use Catch to help grow its e-commerce and digital platforms, in particular to support its Kmart and Target brands. The takeover still requires ACCC approval and WES plans to use existing debt facilities to fund the acquisition.

Afterpay Touch (APT) is 5% higher as it resumes trade following a halt as it raised $317.2 million from institutional investors as the buy now pay later lender looks to grow its business.

The Aussie dollar has softened a touch against the greenback following a fall in both weekly and month consumer confidence readings, even with a rate cut being announced last Tuesday. The AUD buys 69.52 US cents.

So far, 3.5b units have traded worth 3.3b with 531 stocks higher, 484 lower and 402 unchanged.

Published by CommSec