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ASX 200 morning report – Appen left at the altar

A bizarre blink-and-you-missed it takeover approach came and seemingly went for one of the local market’s tech leaders, Appen Ltd (ASX: APX) which develops the datasets for machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Canadian company Telus International sprang a $9.50 a share bid on the company, which said it would talk to Telus to try to extract a better offer.

But in the afternoon Telus revoked its proposal, blindsiding Appen. A bemused share market lifted the Appen share price $1.87, or 29.2%, to $8.27, after opening at $7.99 and peaking at $8.48 in morning trade. News of Telus’ revocation came after the market closed, so the Appen share price will be on watch today.

The takeover interest in Appen galvanised the rest of the tech sector, with Tyro Payments Ltd (ASX: TYR) adding 5% to $1.04; Pointsbet Holdings Ltd (ASX: PBH) gaining 5% to $2.50; Pro Medicus Limited (ASX: PME) rising 2.7% to $40.66; and WiseTech Global Ltd (ASX: WTC) ending 2.4% higher at $40.80.

Afterpay owner Block Inc CDI (ASX: SQ2) gained 1.2% to $110.59, while fellow BNPL player Sezzle Inc (ASX: SZL) jumped 5.1% to 52 cents.

ASX 200 heads lower

Despite this interest lifting the All Tech Index by 1%, the topline market indices closed weaker.

Both the S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) and the broader S&P/ASX All Ordinaries (ASX: XAO) lost 0.7%.

The big banks were a mixed bag, with National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) down 9 cents to $31.57, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ASX: ANZ) 10 cents weaker at $25.53, and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) down 74 cents at $105.43, while Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) went against the tide, eking out a 3-cent gain to $23.90.

In big mining, Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) lost 3.7% to $19.92; Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) was down $1.18, or just over 1%, to $110.78; and BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) shed 40 cents, or 0.9%, to $42.62.

Good week continues for US markets

On Wall Street, the 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average rose for a fifth-straight trading day, adding 1.6%.

The broader S&P 500 index lifted 2% while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index put the other two in the shade, rising nearly 2.7%.

Market sentiment was boosted by a batch of strong earnings from the retail sector, with Macy’s (up 19%), Dollar Tree (up 22%) and Dollar General (up 14%) leading the sector index.

In Europe, the regional Stoxx Europe 600 index ended the day up 0.8, while the UK’s FTSE 100 closed up 0.6% higher and Germany’s Dax 40 gained 1.6%.

The Australian dollar is buying 71 US cents this morning.

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