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Aussie shares have kicked off the session in positive territory for the first time this week thanks to gains across almost all sectors. The ASX 200 is up 42pts or 0.6 per cent to 6,705.8 at lunch and is being held back slightly by losses from mining stocks.

The Australian sharemarket is around 2.5 per cent away from an all-time high as it hovers at the best levels in 11.5 years.

US stocks remained choppy last night ahead of key central bank data in coming days. Investors seemed cautious ahead of further clarity on future rate cuts. The Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes will be released tomorrow morning while the central bank’s chair Jerome Powell is expected to speak over the next two sessions. The market will be watching closely for insights about last week’s stronger employment report. Any surprising comments could impact currencies and bond markets.

Locally, the mining sector has shrugged off firmer iron ore prices and is the lone loser at lunch. BHP, Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue Metals (FMG) are down by as much as 0.3 per cent.

A2 Milk (A2M) is up 6 per cent after a broker both raised its price target and its rating on the infant formula maker. A2M shares are up 48 per cent Year-to-Date after lifting by 40 per cent in 2018 and 261 per cent in 2017.

Retail Food Group (RFG) is down 4.7 per cent. The company behind Donut King and Gloria Jean’s confirmed it has ‘…been exploring options for potential divestment of its non-core assets. Discussions in relation to the sale of one of those non-core assets are at an advanced stage”. RFG also said it “…has received an indicative non-binding proposal from Soliton Capital Partners, an investment fund…to provide approximately $160m to recapitalise the Company”.

Evolution Mining (EVN) said while its gold production was lower than a year ago, it met the company’s own guidance. EVN shares are down 1.3 per cent at lunch.

The results of a monthly survey of consumer confidence were released this morning. Confidence fell by 4.1 per cent to 96.5. The reading has fallen below 100.0 for the first time since March. A level below 100.0 indicates pessimists outnumber optimists.

1.1bn shares have changed hands so far on Wednesday worth $2.5bn. 613 stocks are up, 392 down and 354 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec