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S&P/ASX 200 gives back early gains but still up +2% this week

The US set a new record for COVID-19 infections with a single day surge of 51,000 ahead of fourth of July celebrations.

Cochlear Limited - S&P/ASX 200 gives back early gains but still up +2% this week
Asian stock markets are higher on better than expected US jobs report

S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) is higher by 2 points or 0.04% to 6035 at 2.25 pm after giving back most of its improvements from earlier in the day when it was up 70 points or 1.1%.

However, the benchmark index is on track for its best weekly improvement in a month with a gain of +2% helped by advances across the majority of sectors.

Health stocks are showing their strength today, up 1.7%, while telcos have risen 1.7% and consumer staples gained 0.8%.

Cochlear (ASX:COH) surged 6% after receiving US FDA approval for four new products to add to its hearing technology solutions.

Retail and vehicle sales bounce back

Final Australian Bureau of Statistics figures confirmed increased in retail sales by a record 16.9% in May as lockdown restrictions eased.

This is a significant bounce back from a seasonally adjusted fall of 17.7% in April.

In June, 110,234 new vehicles were sold, down 6.4% on June 2019. While down on a year ago, the result is the strongest since the COVID-19 crisis began.

COVID-19 update

New US COVID-19 cases rose by over 50,000 yesterday, setting a record for a third consecutive day, with new infections rising in 37 out of 50 US states in the past 14 days compared with the two weeks prior in early June.

Florida reported the highest increase of any state so far on Thursday, recording over 10,000 new cases in a single day.

Back home, there are 66 new COVID-19 cases in Victoria today, including 28 from an unknown source.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said there may be a “super spreader” responsible for a surge in cases in northern and western Melbourne.

Top gainers

Today’s top gainers on the ASX include  Mako Gold Ltd (ASX:MKG) (+26.09%), Nelson Resources Ltd (ASX:NES) (+21.28%), Whitebark Energy Ltd (ASX:WBE) (+33.33%), Nexus Minerals Ltd (ASX:NXM) (+11.67%), Latin Resources Ltd (ASX:LRS) (+16.67%), Black Rock Mining Ltd (ASX:BKT) (+12.24%) and Great Boulder Resources Ltd (ASX:GBR) (+57.14%).

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