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As has been the case all week so far, the ASX 200 has jumped out of the blocks on the open, only to fade after the opening hour or so. The benchmark index is now slightly lower and well off the new intraday record high set in the first 40 minutes of trade. The index is currently 2pts or 0.02% lower at 7,290 having been as high as 7,334.9.

Local shares weakened on the release of May Chinese inflation data which highlighted the sharpest rise in factory prices in 12 years mostly due to commodity prices rises and lifting from a relatively low base.

Gains are still across the majority of sectors in the opening few hours of trade. Materials is leading the charge higher. The IT, healthcare and consumer discretionary sectors are also among the leading performers. Consumer staples, financials and energy are lagging behind.

Individually, big miners BHP Group (BHP), Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue Metals (FMG) are all rising following a 3.7% jump in the iron ore price to US$210.40 a tonne overnight. Afterpay (APT) is helping lift the IT sector with a 3% improvement. The big four banks are generally weaker with Westpac (WBC) and National Bank (NAB) falling 0.5% each. Investment bank, Macquarie Group (MQG) is 1.5% lower. Supermarket groups, Coles (COL) is down 1.2% while Woolworths (WOW) is 1.3% softer.

Travel and tourism stocks have received a slight boost following news that Melbourne’s COVID lockdowns will be eased from 11.59pm AEST on Thursday with other restrictions to be eased as well. Webjet (WEB) is lifting 3% while Flight Centre (FLT) is gaining 2%.

In company news, Brickworks (BKW) Is 8% higher with the continued strength in the property market helping the building products maker lift its earnings (EBIT) expectations to a new record of $240-$260 million for its Property Trust joint-venture. EBIT for its Building Products division in Australia & the US are also expected to be higher.

Splitit (SPT) has announced an agreement with ChargeAfter, a US-based global BNPL and point-of-sale
financing platform for merchants. SPT will be the first financing-free instalment payment option available on ChargeAfter for its customers. SPT shares have risen 2%.

The Aussie dollar remains steady around 77.4 US cents.

Published by CommSec