ASX 200 up 1.6%: Appen rebounds, ALS acquires Investiga, Woolworths upgraded

Appen Limited (ASX:APX) and Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX:WOW) shares are making waves on the ASX 200 on Monday. Here's why…

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At lunch on Monday the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is on course to start the week with a very strong gain. The benchmark index is currently up 1.6% to 6,816.4 points.

Here's what is happening on the market today:

Tech shares climb higher

The Australian tech sector is rebounding after a strong night of trade on the Nasdaq index on Friday. The likes of Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT) and Appen Limited (ASX: APX) are recording solid gains and are helping drive the S&P/ASX All Technology Index (ASX: XTX) higher. The technology index is up 1.6% at the time of writing.

ALS announces acquisition

The ALS Ltd (ASX: ALQ) share price is charging higher today after announcing a new acquisition. According to the release, the testing services company has acquired Investiga for an undisclosed fee. Investiga is a pharmaceutical testing business with operations in Brazil and the east coast of the United States. It specialises in the cosmetic and personal care market, providing services to a portfolio of major global clients. Investiga generated A$20 million of revenue in FY 2020.

Woolworths upgraded

The Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) share price is outperforming today. This has been driven by a broker note out of Goldman Sachs this morning. According to the note, the broker has upgraded the retail giant's shares to a buy rating with a $43.60 price target. Goldman notes that Woolworths' shares were trading at a 7% discount to the Industrials ex. Financials index. This compares to a longer term average premium of +12%.

Best and worst ASX 200 performers

The best performer on the ASX 200 on Monday has been the Treasury Wine Estates Ltd (ASX: TWE) share price with a 7% gain. This appears to have been driven by speculation the wine company could be takeover target. Going the other way, the Smartgroup Corporation Ltd (ASX: SIQ) share price is the worst performer on the index with a decline of 4%. This has been driven by its shares trading ex-dividend this morning for its 32 cents per share fully franked final dividend.

James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of AFTERPAY T FPO and Appen Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Treasury Wine Estates Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Woolworths Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended SMARTGROUP DEF SET. 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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