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S&P/ASX 200 surges 1.2% to its best level in two months

Gold prices fell 0.2% to US$2,030.26 per ounce after hitting an all-time high last week.

Andromeda Metals Ltd - S&P/ASX 200 surges 1.2% to its best level in two months
Investors are awaiting an agreement on the US relief bill to help the pandemic-hit economy

S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) surged 1.2% to 6183 by noon - a two-month high with the banks, miners, and property stocks lifting strongly.

The market has added more than 36% since the COVID-19 crash in March 2020 and is now just 14% off its all-time record close reached in February 2020.

Westpac (ASX:WBC) led the gains for the big four banks, rising 3%, National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX:NAB) gained 2.8%, ANZ (ASX:ANZ) is up 2.42% and Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) rose 2.5%.

Economic indicators

According to Commonwealth Bank, credit and debit card spending in the week to August 7 was up 8.4% on a year ago, compared to a 3.2% lift for the week ended July 31.

Online spending surged 20.8% (previous week: up 5.8%) and in-store spending was up 2.9% over the period (previous week: also up 2.9%).

The Kepler index of retail sales activity reported that aggregate sales fell by 7.9% last week (August 9) to be down 24.9% on the year. Sales were down 45.3% in Victoria.

89% of Victorian retail stores were closed in the past week compared with 32% for all of Australia.

Australian restaurant reservations were down 27.5% on August 9 from a year earlier, according to OpenTable.

COVID-19 update

Victoria has recorded 331 new COVID-19 cases and 19 deaths in the past 24 hours.

The US death toll from COVID-19 fell 16% to about 7,200 people last week, the first decline in deaths after four weeks of increases, according to a Reuters tally.

The country recorded more than 376,000 new COVID-19 cases for the week ended August 9, or an average of roughly 53,000 per day.

Top gainers

Today’s top gainers on the ASX include Calima Energy Ltd (ASX:CE1) (+40.00%), FYI Resources Ltd (ASX:FYI) (+14.29%), Creso Pharma Ltd (ASX:CPH) (+15.62%), Domacom Australia Ltd (ASX:DCL) (+23.33%), Ansila Energy NL (ASX:ANA) (+22.73%) and Mako Gold Ltd (ASX:MKG) (+20.00%).

Proactive news headlines:

TNT Mines sampling produces more high-grade uranium and vanadium at Bonanza workings in US

TNT Mines Ltd (ASX:TIN) has received further high-grade uranium and vanadium results from sampling at the Bonanza workings of the 100%-owned East Canyon Uranium-Vanadium Project, in southeast Utah, USA.

Mako Gold hits 13 metres averaging 20.82 g/t gold in shallow drilling at Napié in Côte d’Ivoire, shares up

Mako Gold Ltd (ASX:MKG) has received further high-grade results of up to 13 metres averaging 20.82 g/t gold that demonstrate thick and high-grade mineralisation within 50 vertical metres of surface at Tchaga prospect within the Napié Gold Project in Côte d’Ivoire.

XTEK joins government-funded program to demonstrate its technology for the Australian Army

XTEK Ltd (ASX:XTE) has joined along with 16 other companies in the government-funded C4 (Command Control Communications and Computing) EDGE Program demonstration for the Australian Army.

Calima Energy buoyed by growing interest of large players in Montney Formation oil & gas

Calima Energy Ltd (ASX:CE1) (FRA:R1Y) is encouraged by strong and continuing interest by large oil & gas companies in the Montney Formation in northeast British Columbia, Canada, in which it holds a highly prospective position.

Andromeda Metals boosts kaolin inventory with upgraded Mount Hope resource

Andromeda Metals Ltd (ASX:ADN) has increased its kaolin inventory in South Australia with an upgraded resource estimate for its Mount Hope Kaolin Project, which represents a 47% increase on the previous non-JORC resource.

Castillo Copper at 2-year high as pre-drilling site visit confirms visible copper at Mt Oxide Pillar

Castillo Copper Ltd (ASX:CCZ) is fully funded to ramp-up exploration efforts around the Big One deposit and Arya prospect at Mt Oxide Pillar within the Mt Isa copper-belt in Queensland

Paradigm Biopharmaceuticals receives critical approvals and feedback from agencies to progress MPS

Paradigm Biopharmaceuticals Ltd (ASX:PAR) has achieved a number of key approvals required to progress investigation into the use of its core drug Pentosan Polysulfate Sodium (PPS) in the treatment of the rare disease mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS).

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