Local markets have made a strong start to the week, with the ASX200 closing 1.34% higher on Monday as some major M&A activity stole the headlines.

Gains were led by the tech sector, as Afterpay (ASX:APT) showed its weight by dragging the ASX200 IT index more than 6% higher.

There was a strong round of gains for the big banks, which saw the Financials index close 1.75% higher.

Energy stocks also rose while last week’s outperformer — mining & materials — traded flat after iron ore prices fell sharply on the Chinese demand outlook.

It follows news that Chinese policymakers are looking to cap 2021 steel consumption at 2020 levels, which implies a “significant contraction” in steel demand in the second half of this year, CBA analyst Vivek Dhar said.

TODAY’S BIGGEST WINNERS

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Stocks highlighted in yellow rose (or fell) after making announcements during intraday trade.

Red Hill Iron (ASX:RHI) held its gains after cashing out its interest in its joint venture iron ore project of the same name for $400m cash.

Welltech platform Wooboard (ASX:WOO) closed higher up the winner’s list with a gain of 25% after releasing its investor presentation summarising its activity in the June quarter.

And BPNL leader Afterpay (ASX:APT) closed at $115, following the marquee acquisition announcement by US payments firm Square Inc.

The closing price marked a slight retreat from APT’s rally above $120 in morning trade, following the Square deal which valued the company at $126.21 per share.

TODAY’S BIGGEST LOSERS

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Stocks highlighted in yellow rose (or fell) after making announcements during intraday trade.

ANNOUNCEMENTS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

Orthocell (ASX:OCC)

The regenerative medicine company announced the publication of a successful tissue engineering study, combining CelGro with lymphatic and blood vessel cells to create functional lymphatic tissue. The study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the US, a highly regarded peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Alderan Resources (ASX:AL8)

The company has now received firm commitments for a two-tranche Placement, to raise a total of $5 million at 4c per share, with strong demand from existing and new investors. Funds will be used towards a diamond drilling program at the Alderan’s Detroit Project in Utah.

Creso Pharma (ASX:CPH)

The cannabis company reported an 18% revenue increase on previous period to $1,633,000, and a whopping 451% increase on the previous year. Creso’s cannabis cultivation and sales division Mernova Medicinal contributed the most, reporting a 21% increase in sales revenue on the previous quarter.

TRADING HALTS

Tuesday

Fiji Kava (ASX:FIJ) – capital raising
IODM (ASX:IOD) – revenue signing
Cradle Resources (ASX:CXX) – shareholder meeting outcome
Vulcan (ASX:VUL) – off take term sheet
Frontier Resources (ASX:FNT) – capital raising
IPB Petroleum (ASX:IPB) – capital raising
Strike Resources (ASX:SRK) – regulatory approval
Paradigm Biopharmaceuticals (ASX:PAR) – response from FDA
West Wits Mining (ASX:WWI) – capital raising

Wednesday  

AustChina Holdings (ASX:AUH) – capital raising
Comet Ridge (ASX:COI)– acquisition
Bowen Coking Coal (ASX:BCB) – capital raising & acquisition 
eMetals (ASX:EMT) – drill results
8common (ASX:8CO) – capital raising
Atrum Coal (ASX:ATU) – capital raising
ResApp (ASX:RAP) – licensing agreement
Eastern Iron (ASX:EFE) – project acquisition option 
QEM (ASX:QEM) – capital raising