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Local shares have started the trading week on a positive footing despite a weak lead in from Wall Street and futures trading initially pointing at an early loss for the ASX 200. Heading towards lunch, the top 200 index has climbed 43 points or 0.7% to 5706.
Strong buying for the major banks, miners and health stocks has contributed most to the broader gains on the market. The big four banks are all advancing with Commonwealth Bank (CBA) up 0.8% and leading the gains. While a 1.1% lift in BHP Billiton (BHP) and 4% gain for CSL Ltd (CSL) is also a major reason for the early positive momentum. CSL alone is contributing a ~10 point gain for the ASX 200 index.
Consumer discretionary names are generally weaker with the biggest decline coming from (KGN). The online retailer provided a business update to the market this morning that disappointed investors with the stock slumping up to 28%. Active customer numbers lifted however, gross margins fell in part to increased competition from foreign online competitors and a weaker AUD.
Energy names Beach Energy (BPT) and Senex Energy (SXY) are both advancing on production updates. In other news, education provider Navitas (NVT) has rejected a $5.50/share bid by a private equity consortium but has not ruled out further negotiations.
Corporate Travel Management (CTD) is in a trading halt as a response to a research report from listed investment firm VGI Partners (VG1) where VG1 holds a short position in CTD.
Ramsay healthcare (RHC) has received a 96% acceptance rate for its French subsidiary to acquire Swedish hospital operator, Capio AB for roughly A$1.27 billion, which satisfies conditions for the acquisition to be completed. RHC shares are up 1.7%.
CommSec’s quarterly State of the States report has seen  Victoria retain top spot on economic performance with NSW taking second spot. The AUD holds around 70.9 US cents ahead of a busy week of local economic data. On Wednesday, September quarter inflation (CPI) figures are released. So far, 1.1B units have traded worth $1.5B with 474 stocks higher, 481 weaker and 318 unchanged.
Published by James Tao, CommSec