ASX set to rise after US markets finish higher

Gains for biotech CSL, and a positive start for mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP, helped the ASX 200 move higher on Wednesday.

The index was 0.7 per cent higher at 5936.3 by noon following a decent overnight lead from the US.

All sectors were higher but the big banks continue to underperform. Westpac, NAB, and ANZ were each down by between 0.3 per cent and 0.4 per cent. Commonwealth Bank was up 0.2 per cent at $65.19.

Tech stocks were the best local performer, mirroring the NASDAQ’s strong run. Afterpay was up 3.1 per cent to $77.31 to continue its rally from yesterday.

Buy now, pay later competitors were also on the rise on the All Ords. Zip Co jumped 4.5 per cent to $6.34, Sezzle was 7.5 per cent higher at $7.16, Tyro rose 3.8 per cent to $3.52, FlexiGroup jumped 2.1 per cent to $1.11, and Splitit rose 7.5 per cent to $1.57.

Xero climbed 1 per cent to $91.84, Wisetech was up 0.9 per cent to $27.75, and Computershare rose 0.7 per cent to $12.32.

BHP was 1.9 per cent up at $38.21, Rio Tinto 1.4 per cent ahead at $103.56, and CSL was 1.5 per cent higher at $291.46.

Gold stocks lost their lustre in early trade but have since improved. Newcrest is flat at $33, Northern Star is just 0.4 per cent lower, and Evolution is down 0.1 per cent.

Equity markets have become hyper-leveraged to every snippet of good news on the four Western vaccines deemed credible and currently in Phase 3 human trials.

This Pavlovian optimism keeps us happy but the harsh probability is that nothing certifiably safe and workable will be ready soon enough and at sufficient scale to prevent a second

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