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A fresh stimulus package brought the Aussie share market to its fourth straight gain today as first-home builders get a nudge from the government.

The $688 million HomeBuilder program was officially revealed today. Essentially, the Morrison government will be giving the building industry a leg up in the form of $25,000 grants to first-home buyers to build before the end of the year. Those who own the home in which they live are also eligible for the payout if they want to renovate.

With Wall Street continuing to ignore the civil unrest breaking out across the US, the ASX was set up for another happy day.

Our benchmark ASX 200 index tipped over 6000 points for the first time since early march this morning, but by mid-afternoon had pared but all but 0.1 per cent of its earlier gains. Still, things picked back up at the end of the day and the index closed 0.84 per cent higher at 5991.80 points.

While the financials sector led the morning gains again, it was our real estate stocks that took the cake at the end of the day. Naturally, property groups tipped to benefit from the government package gave stand-out performances.

Dexus tacked on 3.35 per cent, Stockland 3.78 per cent, and Cromwell 4.19 per cent. Interestingly, shopping centre stocks staged their own rally as lockdown measures continue to lift. Today, Scentre Group gained 2.48 per cent, Mirvac 1.22 per cent, Vicinity Centres 0.90 per cent, and Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield a whopping 12.04 per cent.

Of course, this isn’t to discount the gains put on by our big banks. Even after paring back the best of the morning wins, Commonwealth Bank still closed 2.34 per cent higher. ANZ gained 1.53 per cent, Westpac 1.28 per cent, and NAB 1.18 per cent. Investment banking giant Macquarie Group gained 1.21 per cent.

Still, our materials stocks kept things somewhat-subdued today. Rio Tinto was the only green stock among our big three iron ore producers with a 1.01 per cent gain. BHP and Fortescue lost 0.08 per cent and 0.41 per cent, respectively.

Not even the “safe haven” gold stocks could keep the sector happy today, however, as Newcrest lost 3.20 per cent and Northern Star lost 5.67 per cent. Evolution Mining closed 2.73 per cent lower after selling its Queensland-based Cracow Gold Mine to fellow ASX-listed Aeris Resources for a potential $125 million.

Overseas, it was mostly green across major Asian indexes today. When the ASX closed for the day, the Asia Dow was 0.33 per cent higher and Japan’s Nikkei 225 was 0.36 per cent higher. The Hang Seng was up by 0.08 per cent, but the Shanghai Composite was sitting 0.07 per cent in the red.

The Australian dollar is stronger against US currency but weaker against the Pound sterling today. Currently, one dollar buys 69.01 US cents, 55.01 pence, and 11.73 South African Rand.

Today’s ups and downs

After Mariner Corporation’s (ASX:MCX) unexplained share price drop yesterday, it seems punters were waiting for a good opportunity to buy low. A small volume of trades brought the share price lower by 72.5 per cent yesterday, and today Mariner’s share price has more-than-quadrupled — still with no company news to support the movements. Shares closed 309.9 per cent higher at nine cents each.

Hemp product maker Ecofibre (ASX:EOF) is among the first ASX-listed companies to claim the civil unrest in the States has had a financial impact on business. The company withdrew its second-half guidance today, explaining that just as its Ananda Health business was returning to normal after COVID-19 lockdowns, the riots began. Shares declined by 7.10 per cent today to close worth $2.88 each.

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