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After a modest start, the Aussie market is pushing higher at lunch on Wednesday with the ASX 200 adding 34 points or 0.5% to 6,779 around midday. Local shares initially started the session slightly softer following losses on Wall Street overnight.

Helping to lift the local market into positive has been improvements for most sectors with both consumer staples and discretionary, healthcare and IT advancing by more than 1% each. Heavyweight financials are also lifting as these moves overcome declines for energy, materials and industrials.

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is the largest individual mover for the ASX 200 as it adds 6 points to the index with a 1.3% gain. Biotech CSL Ltd (CSL) is adding 1.5% and contributing 5 points to the benchmark. Wesfarmers (WES) and Goodman Group (GMG) are the other major contributors. Westpac Bank (WBC) is the largest drag as it falls 1% while Fortescue Metals (FMG) is another major decliner.

Energy providers are also well in the red and underperforming the broader market following a 6% decline
in global oil prices overnight. Concerns over further COVIDrelated lockdowns in Europe have dampened travel demand. Oil Search (OSH) is 3% softer while Woodside (WPL) and Santos (STO) ease 1% each. STO announced it is saving ~$1 billion in capital expenditure at its Barossa Project as it signed a new services contract with BW Offshore.

Xero (XRO) is 2.6% higher as it announced an acquisition of a Swedish e-invoicing company called Tickstar. The accounting software firm will pay up to SEK150 million (~A$22.9 million) for the acquisition. Computershare (CPU) is in a trading halt as it looks to raise funds for an acquisition. CPU has agreed to acquire the assets of Wells Fargo Corporate Trust Services for US$750 million.

Premier Investments (PMV) is 2.4% firmer as the retailer released first half profit results. Total sales firmed to $784.6 million, boosted by strong online results and record sales for Peter Alexander. Net profit (NPAT) and earnings (EBIT) both rose ~90% on the year before.

The Aussie dollar is now buying 76.1 US cents as it eases on weaker oil prices.

Published by CommSec