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The Aussie market is off to a bright start on Wednesday. The ASX 200 is rising 76 points or 1.2% to 6,707 and is enjoying its biggest improvement in roughly three weeks. These moves follow a positive session on Wall Street as investors cheered the potential breakthrough on US stimulus talks combined with the Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

Locally, gains are broad based with all sectors in positive territory. The most improved are materials, technology and financials while industrials, consumer staples and healthcare are among the smallest gains.

Miners have bounced back from successive declines to start the week. Iron ore prices rebounded helping to boost miners like Fortescue Metals (FMG) which is 3% higher, BHP and Rio Tinto (RIO) are also improving by 2%.

The big four banks are all lifting as much as 2% with ANZ Bank (ANZ) advancing most. ANZ Is also holding a virtual AGM today. Westpac (WBC) is next best with a 1.6% increase while National Bank (NAB) is 1.5% higher and Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is adding 1.4%. CBA also has agreed to merge Aussie Home Loans with online home loan platform, Lendi. CBA will retain a 45% stake in the new firm & will receive a deferred consideration and a precompletion dividend of $105 million.

Afterpay (APT) is leading the technology sector higher with the buy-now pay-later stock hitting fresh record highs of $115/share earlier in the day. The stocks has eased a touch from those levels but is still 3.8% higher. Openpay (OPY) is 21% higher as it provided a trading update with November a new record month. OPY reported Total Transaction Value (TTV) of $35.7 million, up 121% on pcp. OPY will also launch in the US.

Pilbara Minerals (PLS) is among a small group of stocks trading lower. The mineral miner has been in a trading halt since Monday and resumed today but is down 10.7% as it continues to raise funds for its acquisition of Altura’s lithium operations. It has raised a further $61 million via an institutional placement as part of its total $240 million funding package. Elsewhere, Mesoblast (MSB) is in a trading halt pending an announcement on a corporate update.

The Aussie dollar remains at elevated levels and is buying 75.5 US cents

Published by CommSec