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The ASX shook off negative leads from the US and surged ahead today to officially break through a resistance that has plagued the market since March.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed above 6200 points for the first time since the brutal COVID-induced sell-off earlier this year. The benchmark index tacked on a neat 0.5 per cent, or 31.1 points, today to close at 6210.3.

This comes in spite of more US stimulus woes sending Wall Steet lower for the second session in a row. Overnight, the Dow Jones lost 0.58 per cent, the S&P 500 lost 0.66 per cent, and the Nasdaq lost 0.8 per cent.

Nevertheless, hopes of a November Reserve Bank rate cut were enough to get Aussie investors turning away from Wall Street. RBA Governor Philip Lowe hinted today that a rate cut in November is likely, and investors took well to the news.

In an inverse picture to yesterday’s trading session, our banks and miners carried the market to its green close today.

A falling dollar meant a happy day for our export-heavy stocks, and the materials and energy sectors gained 1.18 per cent and 2.48 per cent, respectively.

BHP led our pack of iron ore miners today with a 2.05 per cent gain. Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals gained 1.4 per cent and Rio Tinto gained 0.99 per cent.

Meanwhile, Origin Energy led the charge among our big energy players. The company tacked on a healthy 4.13 per cent, while Santos trailed close behind at a 3.97 per cent gain. Woodside gained 1.53 per cent and Oil Search gained 3.9 per cent.

As if often the case, however, as the wider market went up, our gold stocks went down. Newcrest slipped a marginal 0.08 per cent while St Barbara lost 1.31 per cent. Soon-to-be-merged Northern Star and Saracen retreated 0.8 per cent and 1.47 per cent, respectively. Evolution Mining bucked the trend and gained 0.16 per cent.

Nevertheless, our tech stocks couldn’t escape the Nasdaq’s influence. Buy now, pay later giant After slipped 1.13 per cent and accounting software specialist Xero lost a flat two per cent. WiseTech declined by 2.6 per cent and Computershare by 0.84 per cent.

Overseas, it’s mostly red again for major Asian indexes. As the ASX closes for the day, the Asia Dow is down 0.86 per cent, the Nikkei 225 is down 0.51 per cent, and the Hang Seng is down 1.15 per cent. The Shanghai Composite is holding on to a 0.14 per cent gain.

The Australian dollar is weaker this afternoon, currently buying 71.32 US cents, 54.78 pence, and 11.81 South African Rand.

Today’s ups and downs

Battery metals explorer Pure Minerals (ASX:PM1) soared today after landing a deal with South Korean chemical company LG Chem. While the deal is non-binding, it outlines the terms for LG Chem to buy up 10,000 tonnes of contained nickel and roughly 1000 tonnes of contained cobalt from Pure Minerals’ TECH Project. Importantly, the deal will include a three-to-five-year offtake agreement. Shares in PM1 were up as much as 66 per cent in early action until paring back their win to 36.67 per cent and closing worth 4.1 cents each.

Meanwhile, international student placement company IDP Education (ASX:IEL) slumped on the news that a majority shareholder was considering dumping some shares. Education Australia, which owns 50.1 per cent of IDP, is reportedly considering selling some shares to help its own university shareholders cope with COVID-19 blows. Shares in IDP fell 6.05 per cent to close worth $18.93 each.

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