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ASX 200 up 0.7%: CBA update, IGO enters lithium market, Healius jumps

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At lunch on Wednesday the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is on course to continue its positive run. The benchmark index is currently up 0.7% to 6,732.9 points.

Here’s what is happening on the market today:

UK COVID-19 vaccine gives ASX 200 a boost.

The rollout of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the United Kingdom has begun and appears to have given investor sentiment a boost today. According to the BBC, a 90-year-old grandmother became the first person in the world to be given the vaccine. That was the first of 800,000 doses of the vaccine that will be distributed in the coming weeks.

CBA divestment update.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) share price is pushing higher today after providing an update on its divestments. According to the release, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission has granted approval for the divestment of the bank’s 37.5% equity interest in BoCommLife to MS&AD Insurance Group. The final sale proceeds are expected to be $886 million, which, combined with a revision to other non-cash gains on previous divestments, is expected to boost its CET1 ratio by 29 basis points.

IGO enters lithium market.

The IGO Ltd (ASX: IGO) share price is in a trading halt today after announcing a binding agreement with Chinese company Tianqi Lithium Corporation to acquire a 49% stake in its Australian lithium mining business for $1.9 billion. The nickel producer intends to fund the deal through a combination of $1.1 billion of new debt facilities, an equity raising of up to $766 million, and existing cash reserves of between $85 million and $149 million.

Best and worst ASX 200 performers.

The best performer on the ASX 200 on Wednesday has been the Healius Ltd (ASX: HLS) share price with a 5% gain. This follows the release of a trading update and the announcement of a $200 million share buyback. The worst performer has been the Abacus Property Group (ASX: ABP) share price with a 5% decline following the completion of its equity raising.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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