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S&P/ASX 200 advances 1% as investors shrug off rising COVID-19 cases

Oil prices climbed more than 2% on Friday after the International Energy Agency (IEA) bumped up its 2020 demand forecast.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia - S&P/ASX 200 advances 1% as investors shrug off rising COVID-19 cases
Gold prices edged higher on Monday, holding above the key $1,800-per-ounce level

S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) is trading 0.97% higher at 12.35 pm as investors shrugged off concerns over the rising number of COVID-19 cases worldwide.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 1.47%, Topix index advanced 1.55% and South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.12%.

The big banks are up strongly with Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) up 2.14%, National Australia Bank up 1.88% (ASX:NAB), and Westpac (ASX:WBC) and ANZ (ASX:ANZ) up more than 2%.

Meanwhile, gold miners are weaker with Newcrest (ASX:NCM), Northern Star(ASX:NST), and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) all down more than 1%.

COVID-19 update

The World Health Organization on Sunday reported a record daily rise in global COVID-19 cases.

In the US, Florida on Sunday reported more than 15,000 new infections — the highest single day total to date for any US state since the pandemic began in the country.

National Australia Bank head of foreign exchange strategy Ray Attrill said: “Ongoing grim US COVID-19 infection news continues to be summarily ignored.”

Attrill said that was due to “ongoing optimism” surrounding factors such as the “time-line for the discovery and rapid roll-out of an effective vaccine” as well as potential additional policy support for the US economy.

Top gainers

Today’s top gainers on the ASX include VIP Gloves Ltd (ASX:VIP) (+10.91%), Polarx Ltd (ASX:PXX) (+12.20%), Volt Resources Ltd (ASX:VRC) (+10.53%), Oklo Resources Ltd (ASX:OKU) (+10.17%), Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd (ASX:COB) (+10.00%) and Esense-Lab Ltd (ASX:ESE) (+10.00%).

Proactive news headlines:

Australian Strategic Materials Korean JV produces high-quality neodymium metal alloy

Australian Strategic Materials Limited’s (ASM) Korean research and development partner ZironTech has produced about 1 kilogram of neodymium metal alloy in the laboratory from its patented reduction process. This completes preliminary work on the metallisation of neodymium oxide feed with assaying confirming an intermediate neodymium (87%) alloy ingot.

archTIS renews software contracts with Commonwealth Government agencies

archTIS Ltd (ASX:AR9) has renewed two software contracts with Commonwealth Government agencies for a total value exceeding $400,000.

Mako Gold completes $3.25 million capital raising to fund Napié Gold Project drilling

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Theta Gold Mines can now be traded in US Dollars following DTC eligibility approval

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Galileo Mining finalises Fraser Range nickel targets for drilling program this month

Galileo Mining Ltd (ASX:GAL) has finalised priority targets in the prolific Fraser Range region of Western Australia for a combination of reverse circulation (RC) and diamond core drilling to begin later this month. The program is aimed at testing high-priority nickel targets surrounded by sulphide mineralisation.

engage:BDR has robust cash balance following strong quarter and record first half

engage:BDR Ltd (ASX:EN1) is in a strong financial position with a cash balance of $1.7 million at the end of the June quarter, around $320,000 or a 23% improvement over the ending cash balance of the first quarter of 2020 of $1.38 million. This was also 21% greater than the average cash balance of 2019 of $1.4 million.

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