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The ASX has jumped out of the blocks this morning, as expected, after two consecutive days of losses.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index has risen 35.8 points, or 0.48 per cent, to 7,425.90.

What’s driving the market

The Nasdaq continued its surge from late Monday, gaining 210 points and finished 1.41 per cent higher at 15,153 points.

The S&P 500 finished 42 points higher (0.92 per cent) at 4,713 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 182 points (0.51 per cent) to 36,251 points.

The major tech firms aided the overall market, with Amazon up more than 2 per cent and Apple and Nvidia up roughly 1.5 per cent.

In a congressional hearing that pointed to his likely confirmation for a second term as head of the United States central bank, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said othat the economy should weather the current COVID-19 surge and that it was ready to begin tightening monetary policy.

The Fed chairman stated that the central bank was committed to protecting rising inflation from being “entrenched,” and that, far from dampening job creation, a shift to higher policy interest rates and a runoff of its asset holdings was required to keep the present economic upswing going.

Closer to home, according to fresh seasonally adjusted numbers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), there were 396,000 job openings in November 2021, 169,000 more than before the epidemic began.

“These figures continue to show the high demand for workers from businesses emerging from lockdowns, together with ongoing labour shortages, particularly in lower paying industries,” Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the value of engineering construction work done fell by 2.3 per cent in the September quarter, 2021, according to the ABS.

Going up

The ASX has enjoyed gains across the board, but Consumer Staples stocks have continued their dip from yesterday. while Industrial stocks have remained stable.

Materials stocks have enjoyed gains this morning, with the sector rising 1.23 per cent.

PacGold has led the gains today, rising 57.1 per cent after the company unveiled a “significant expansion” of a newly discovered high-grade zone at its Alice River gold project in North Queensland.

Fellow Materials player EMetals has also enjoyed gains on the market this morning, rising 22.2 per cent.

The big materials players saw mixed results, with BHP and RIO seeing minor gains, while FMG shares fell. Gold stocks have also enjoyed gains, with Newcrest Mining and Northern Star on the up. 

The Energy sector is charged up, leading gains on the market this morning, with Santos and Ampol seeing gains. 

Immuron followed the gains seen across the Health Care sector, with company stocks rising 29 per cent on the announcement that it has been Awarded AU $4.8 (USD $3.43) million funding by the U.S. Department of defense for Travelan.

Afterpay shares rose 4.65 per cent after it announced its acquisition by payments firm Block recieved key approval from the Bank of Spain.

Going down

Consumer Staples is the only sector in the red by midday trade. grocery giants Woolworths, Coles, Endeavour and Metcash were all down. TTA Holdings was down 12 per cent.

Despite gains in the overall Materials sector, Ark Mines has suffered a 14.9 per cent drop in its stock while fellow Material stocks Ardiden and Black Canyon also witnessed drops, falling 10.7 per cent and 10.2 per cent, respectively. Sun

Tech company Structural Monitoring Systems was down 11.6 per cent while Health Care stock Osteopore was down 10 per cent.

Other markets

Oil has dropped slightly, Brent crude was down 0.16 per cent to US$83.85 a barrel.

Gold grew, lifting by US$1.3 or 0.07 per cent to US$1,819.90 an ounce.

The dollar was up 0.04 per cent to 72.12 US cents.

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