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The ASX has continued its record gains as the first trading day of the month comes to an end.

After a brief dip into the red in early trade, the ASX 200 tacked on 16.3 points at market close, after spending the day teasing the elusive 6900 mark for the first time ever.

The All Ords followed suit, naturally, gaining 17.3 points, or 0.25 per cent, to reach 6965.3.

The finance sector led today’s charge as the Big Four each performed strong. Litigation funder IMF Bentham hit a two-decade high after a class action won its case against the State of Queensland over the management of Wivenhoe Dam.

Afterpay Touch underperformed on the market, however, as reports of Reserve Bank regulation talks drove the buy-now-pay-later poster boy’s stocks down 1.2 per cent.

Retail stocks stacked on some healthy gains as supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles both reached all-time highs. Woolworths maintained a 0.1 per cent increase despite a class action over unpaid wages from a Canberra law firm.

Things in the cyber world mimicked real life, with online retailer Kogan gaining 2.5 per cent on the back of solid Black Friday sales.

Things looked grim for the materials sector at market open, but big players in the resources game managed to pick things back up by late afternoon. BHP and Rio Tinto tacked on 0.5 per cent and 0.86 per cent respectively.

Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group ticked over A$10 per share, marking an 11-year high for the iron ore giant.

Cochlear and CSL kept health care strong as they continued their record rise from Friday. Canada-based biotech company Opthea joined the fun with a 15.2 per cent rise in its share price after landing A$50 million in funding through a private share placement.

In the east, the Nikkei 225 has fastened on a healthy 231.05 points as Japenese stocks perform well.

The Hang Seng rose 93.18 points when a surprise gain in China’s factory activity overshadowed weekend reports of trade bans between the United States and Chinese tech giant Huawei.

The U.S. dollar and the Pound sterling gained 0.15 per cent today. The Euro followed suit with a 0.07 per cent increase.

The Aussie dollar is up 0.12 per cent.

Today’s ups and downs

Cauldron Energy was today’s best performer, gaining almost 40 per cent after coming out of a two-week trading halt on Friday. The small-cap uranium miner landed a Heads of Agreement to buy a Victorian gold mine last week, causing a stir among investors and a strong uptake of shares today.

Things didn’t fare as well for Hong Kong-based business intelligence company FinTech Chain. The company posted a 121 per cent drop in profits coupled with a 37 per cent decrease in revenue compared to the year before. The report saw shares slump 28 per cent to their lowest point since September.

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