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Shares edged higher this morning but struggled to clear last month’s highs despite a record close on Wall Street.

The ASX 200 rose a point or less than 0.1 per cent to 6742 by mid-session, surrendering stronger early gains as Telstra and the banks turned negative. A seventh straight advance lay within reach but the benchmark index struggled for a second day with technical resistance around the 6750 level where a rally stalled last month.

Tech and resource stocks were the best of the sectors during a two-speed market this morning. Bravura Solutions and Splitit (see more below) drove technology gains. Bravura rose 4.6 per cent after announcing it will acquire local wealth management software maker FinoComp for $25 million. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the month. Among the tech leaders, Xero gained 2.8 per cent, Altium 1.9 per cent and Wisetech 2.4 per cent.

BHP nudged a two-week high, adding 1.1 per cent after US President Donald Trump said a trade deal with China could be signed “ahead of schedule”. Rio Tinto put on 1 per cent during a strong morning for trade-sensitive miners. Mining services company Mineral Resources climbed 5.2 per cent to a 12-week peak. Lithium explorer Orocobre gained 4.1 per cent.

A month-long rebound in the banks has run out of petrol over the last few sessions. CBA dipped 0.2 per cent, ANZ and NAB 0.4 per cent and Westpac 0.6 percent. Telstra was another significant drag, falling 0.7 per cent.

In takeover action, private equity fund Quadrant swooped on outdoor ad business QMS Media. Shares in QMS jumped 21.5 per cent to $1.21 on news the company has entered a Scheme of Implementation for Quadrant to acquire the company at $1.22 a share. Meanwhile, boutique asset manager Pacific Current Group announced it had rejected an offer from an unnamed US asset manager because the proposal did not represent sufficient value for shareholders. And Elders edged up 0.3 per cent on news that the Federal Court had cleared the way for the agribusiness to acquire Australian Independent Rural Retailers.

Forestry business Midway crashed 20.6 per cent to an all-time low after telling the Annual General Meeting it expects first-half earnings before interest and tax to be down 50 per cent on the same time last year. Lovisa Holdings slipped 4.5 per cent after Managing Director Shane Fallscheer warned currency headwinds were building as the company expanded its international jewellery store network.

What’s hot today and what’s not:

Hot today: Splitit hit a six-month high after the buy-now-pay-later company announced it had almost doubled the number of merchants using its instalment payment technology since last September. Shoppers using Splitit increased 187 per cent from 82,000 in Q3 last year to 235,000 over the same period this year. Merchant fees increased 96 per cent to $US466,000. Investors liked what they heard, lifting the share price 8.3 per cent to its highest level since April.

Not today: a profit warning pushed Bega Cheese down to six-year lows briefly this morning. The cheese-maker’s shares hit $3.76 before trimming their loss to 12 per cent or 54 cents at $3.99 mid-session. The collapse followed a downbeat assessment of the company’s near-term prospects amid falling milk production across Australia and soft export demand. The company downgraded its expectations for full-year earnings before interest and tax to a range of $95 – $105 million, compared to $115 million last financial year.

A mixed morning on Asian markets saw China’s Shanghai Composite off 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ahead 0.1 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei up 0.5 per cent. S&P 500 index futures were recently ahead two points or 0.1 per cent.

Turning to commodity markets, Brent crude futures bounced two cents or less than 0.1 per cent this morning to $US61.55 a barrel.Gold futures eased $1.90 or 0.1 per cent to $US1,493.90 an ounce.

On currency markets, the dollar was steady at 68.41 US cents.

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