The ASX 200 touched new fresh intraday highs today of 7,615, before softening towards the close to 7,576 for a 0.19% gain.

Utilities, energy, and miners were the best performers, while tech and telco stocks underperformed.

Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) rose by 1.3% and touched an all time high of $109.03 in intraday trading, but closed at $108.01.

The bank’s shares rose after splashing shareholders with a final dividend of $2 a share, which is 104% higher than the previous year’s payout. The bank will also commence a $6 billion off-market buyback of its shares.

Meanwhile, investors are trading nervously ahead of the consumer price report in the US tonight, which would dictate the direction of US Fed’s rates policy. Economists’ consensus is for headline inflation to soften to 4.3% in July, from 4.5% in June.

 

BIG CAP WINNERS

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IRESS (ASX:IRE) +6%

The financial services tech company received an improved takeover offer price from EQT Fund Management of $15.91 per share before franking credits, from previous offers of $14.8 and, and $15.30 to $15.50.

Iress has agreed to grant EQT a period of exclusivity for 30 days to undertake its due diligence.

Novonix (ASX:NVX)+12%

The battery materials and technology company rose today and has risen by almost 40% this week, after announcing that US-based Philips 66 will take a 16% stake in NVX.

“Phillips 66’s investment will provide us with the capital needed to support growth and ongoing R&D as we continue to scale our synthetic graphite production and develop new technologies for higher-performance energy storage applications,” commented Novonix CEO and co-founder Chris Burns.

James Hardie (ASX:JHX)+1.5%

The fibre cement manufacturing giant is up by 9% this week after reporting bumper first quarter revenue of US$843.3 million.

The company saw increases in revenue of around 30% in all regions globally.

BIG CAP LOSERS

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Footwear retailer Accent Group (ASX:AX1) fell by 7% after a downgrade note out of Citi. The broker has reduced its rating on Accent from “neutral” to “sell”.