ASX 200 closes at highest level in three weeks on COVID-19 vaccine hope

Global stocks traded higher today as markets received a boost from news surrounding the development of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

Australian Mines Ltd - ASX 200 closes at highest level in three weeks on COVID-19 vaccine hopes
US nonfarm payrolls report, a key indicator of the US economy, will be released today

S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) closed 1.7% higher at 6032.7, its best close in three weeks, as the local bourse rode a wave of optimism from Wall Street.

Buying has been rather widespread with tech stocks adding 3.7%, the property sector rising 3% and the financials gaining 1.9%.

The four big banks were amongst the largest individual contributors to the market with ANZ Bank (ASX:ANZ) rising 2%.

COVID-19 update

Investor sentiments got a boost from news that a vaccine candidate being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech shows potential.

An early-stage human trial of the potential COVID-19 vaccine showed the drug created neutralising antibodies. The results, which were posted online, are yet to be reviewed by a medical journal.

Top gainers

Today’s top gainers on the ASX include Peel Mining Ltd (ASX:PEX) (+11.43%), Australian Mines Limited (ASX:AUZ) (+12.50%), Cellmid Limited (ASX:CDY) (+20.00%) and Highfield Resources Ltd (ASX:HFR) (+15.12%).

Proactive news headlines:

Salt Lake Potash boosts finances with $10 million strategic investment and convertible note placement

Salt Lake Potash Ltd (ASX:SO4) has received a major boost to its finances with a A$10 million strategic investment from Equatorial Resources Ltd (ASX:EQX) as part of a A$15 million placement of convertible notes to corporate and institutional investors. Salt Lake Potash is in the final stages of completing a significant project financing that will support the development of its Lake Way Sulphate of Potash (SOP) Project in the Goldfields region of Western Australia.

THC Global to boost production at Southport facility as it makes inroads with medicinal cannabis sales and exports

THC Global Group Ltd (ASX:THC) will boost production at its Southport facility as it makes inroads with cannabis sales, having secured its first sales of white-labelled medicines in New Zealand and prepares to ship its first bottles to Canada. The company is also expecting to ship out its cannabis oil to Europe in the fourth quarter while there has been a rapid uptake of Canndeo medicines since the launch in May with patients across Australia.

MGC Pharmaceuticals expands ArtemiC Phase II clinical trial for COVID-19 to India; selected for WHO research task force

MGC Pharmaceuticals Ltd (ASX:MXC) has expanded its Phase II clinical trial for COVID-10 to India, with recruitment of patients expected to start in mid-July 2020. In addition, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has selected MGC Pharmaceuticals to participate in its COVID-19 research task force that will enable it to obtain the latest updates and specific trial data for its living systematic review.

Emmerson Resources raising up to $4.5 million to accelerate NSW gold exploration

Emmerson Resources Ltd (ASX:ERM) has secured commitments to raise up to $3.5 million in an oversubscribed placement to institutional and sophisticated investors with a Share Purchase Plan (SPP) also planned to raise up to a further $1 million. Proceeds from the capital raising will be used to accelerate exploration of the company's gold and copper-gold prospects in NSW as well as to support its emerging gold royalty business.

Aeris Resources beats fiscal 2020 copper production guidance; adds gold for 2021

Aeris Resources Ltd (ASX:AIS) has achieved copper production of 25,041 tonnes at the Tritton Copper Operations for financial year 2019-20 (FY2020), about 2% above the upper limit of the previously announced guidance of 23,500 to 24,500 tonnes. Along with Tritton, Aeris recently acquired ownership of the Cracow Gold Operations in Queensland.

Australian Potash JV partner St Barbara commits to extensive FY21 gold program at Lake Wells project

Australian Potash Ltd (ASX:APC) has received a boost in a strong gold market with joint venture partner St Barbara Ltd (ASX:SBM) committing to extensive 2021 financial year exploration plans at Lake Wells Gold Project in WA, including up to 30,000 metres of drilling. The extensive regional scale drilling program will comprise up to 425 aircore (AC) holes for about 25,500 metres, up to 19 reverse circulation (RC) holes for about 3,400 metres and up to three diamond holes for around 900 metres.

Australian Strategic Materials Korean JV produces titanium metal alloy with 45% power saving

Australian Strategic Materials Limited’s (ASM) Korean R&D partner ZironTech has produced a titanium metal alloy at the JV’s commercial pilot plant and through use of the patented reduction process achieved 45% power saving. This is the first phase of the development of a low emission, high purity metal refining technology that can be applied to zirconium, titanium, rare earths for permanent magnet alloys.

Element 25 identifies potential high-grade manganese concentrate zone at Butcherbird Project

Element 25 Ltd (ASX:E25) sub-sampling of the diamond core drilled into the Coodamudgi resource at Butcherbird Manganese Project has returned high-grade manganese values of up to 42.3% from surface with low impurity levels. The Coodamudgi resource is entirely within granted mining lease M52/1074 meaning that it can be quickly integrated into the mine plan once resource drilling is completed and metallurgy is confirmed.

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