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Local shares are bouncing back from Tuesday’s retreat and shrugging off weakness on Wall Street overnight. The ASX 200 is adding 45 points or 0.67% to 6,807 around midday.

The Aussie market has seen a slight bump on the December Quarter GDP figures which showed the Aussie
economy improving by 3.1% on the September Quarter, beating expectations of 2.5% growth. While on an annual basis the economy shrank 1.1%, but that was still better than an expected 1.9% decline.

While most sectors on the market are improving, materials are easily contributing most to broader advances. Other sectors to improve include financials, energy, consumer discretionary and industrials.

Gold miners have made a positive impact and are some of the biggest winners for the day. Ramelius Resources (RMS) is 10% higher while larger gold miner, Northern Star (NST) gains 4%. Major miners Fortescue Metals (FMG) and BHP Group (BHP) are adding close to 20 points alone. FMG is rising 4.2%, having dropped 10.3% over the first two days of the week (it traded ex-dividend on Monday). BHP is 2.9% higher.

Rio Tinto (RIO) has announced that its chairman Simon Thompson will step down at the 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) and not seek re-election. Non-executive director Michael L’Estrange will retire at the conclusion of the 2021 AGMs. RIO shares are 1.6% higher.

Meanwhile, technology and healthcare are leading declines with consumer staples and communications also in the red. In the tech space, buy-now pay-later names are among laggards with Afterpay (APT) down 3.5% while accounting software firm, Xero (XRO) is 2.7% softer. Biotech firm, CSL Ltd (CSL) is underperforming in the health sector with a 0.6% loss.

In other news, Nine Entertainment (NEC) has confirmed Mike Sneesby, currently CEO of streaming service Stan Entertainment, as the replacement for outgoing Chief Executive Hugh Marks. Mr Sneesby will start on 1 April 2021. NEC shares have risen 1%.

The Aussie dollar is a touch firmer in response to the Dec Qtr GDP figures and weakness in the US dollar. The local unit is fetching 78.3 US cents.

Published by CommSec