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Aussie shares are lifting for a third straight day, with gains across most sectors pushing the ASX 200 around 0.3 per cent higher and to a near 8.5 month high. The index is now up by 10.3 per cent in November, keeping the market on track to have its best month since March 1988. In a nutshell, concerns of a huge spike in coronavirus cases in the Northern Hemisphere together with worries about further lockdowns are being offset by hopes for two potentially effective vaccines.

Almost all sectors are lifting modestly at lunch, with the big banks the most significant contributors to the gains. The big four are adding ~20pts to the market’s gains (around half the ASX 200’s total improvements).

There is some profit taking in the highflying areas of the market so far this month. Energy stocks are down by 0.5 per cent but have surged by 24 per cent in November. No other sector is even within 10 per cent of those gains this month.

Some stocks closely tied to the tourism sector are also under pressure, including Sydney Airport (SYD) and Qantas (QAN). Both remain around 25 per cent higher in November thanks to vaccine hopes and the reopening of most domestic borders by Christmas. This assumes the Adelaide cluster does not spread to other parts of the country.

A2 Milk (A2M) is down 4.1 per cent after maintaining its recently lowered profit goals for the year. A2M also warned that uncertainty with that forecast remains and needs to see a pickup in Chinese demand.

Aristocrat (ALL) is up 2.4 per cent following the release of its earnings. Revenue fell by 5.9 per cent to $4.1bn for the year while profits slumped by 46.7 per cent to $476.6m. It has cut its dividend by 70 per cent to 10c per share. The softer result was blamed partly on the impact of COVID-19 which has led to the closure of venues in 2020.

2.8bn shares have changed hands so far today worth a significant $4.1bn. 665 stocks are up, 593 are down and 388 are unchanged.

Australia’s Wage Price Index rose by a smaller than expected 0.1 per cent over the September quarter. This marked the smallest increase since 1997 (when records began). The annual rate of growth eased to 1.4 per cent.

Published by CommSec