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Aussie shares are lifting for the third time this week, with the ASX 200 up 0.63 per cent to 5,397.8. Thanks to strong gains on Monday and Tuesday, our market is on track to lift by around 3 per cent this week. With the exception of healthcare and consumer staples, all other sectors are up. CSL Limited (CSL) is the main weight on the market, falling by 1.6 per cent and wiping out around 7pts from the ASX 200.

National Cabinet met today with the prime minister holding a press conference at 12:30pm AEST. He outlined a three step plan aimed at reopening the economy completely in July. As these are guidelines,
states will then decide on appropriate measures to implement.

Shares in Zip (Z1P) are surging by 17.5 per cent after the buy-nowpay-later provider released an update for April. Revenue rose 81 per cent to $15.1m, with transaction volumes up 86 per cent to $181.6m. The number of active customers and merchants using its platform rose.

Shares in Flight Centre (FLT) and Webjet (WEB) are surging by as much as 10 per cent thanks to the prospect of interstate travel resuming. This follows the prime minister unveiling the Federal
Government’s three step plan for reopening the economy. With international borders to remain closed, Sydney Airport (SYD) is only up 0.5 per cent.

Macquarie (MQG) is up 3.8 per cent. The bank said that FY20 NPAT fell by 8 per cent to $2,731m, with the result impacted by higher impairments linked to the potential economic impacts of COVID-19.
Impairment charges rose to $1,040m (up from $552m in FY19). The bank will pay a reduced final dividend of $1.80 per share ($3.60 per share 12 months earlier). MQG has not provided guidance due to the
unpredictable operating environment.

Orica (ORI) is down by 2.3 per cent after handing down its half year results. The explosives and fertiliser products provider recorded a $165m statutory NPAT and reduced their unfranked dividend payment to 16.5c (paid out 22c 12 months earlier). While ORI said it is difficult to make predictions, it has estimated 2H volumes to be ~10 to 15 per cent below pre-COVID levels.

AMP is up 5 per cent. It has ceased plans to divest its New Zealand wealth management business. It blamed this on ‘the economic & financial markets disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic’. AMP
said the offers it received did not meet its expectations. Telstra (TLS) expects to make a ~$300 million non-cash impairment and write down the value of its 35 per cent stake in Foxtel. This follows News Corp’s write down of the business. Foxtel has been hurt by COVID-19’s impact on global sports.

The RBA’s Statement on Monetary Policy was released today, with the quarterly report reiterating its projections for a substantial downturn this year and a recovery in 2021. It expects GDP to contract by 8 per cent in the year to June 2020, 6 per cent in the year to December before improving by around 6 per cent in 2021.

2bn shares have changed hands so far today, worth $3.6bn. 752 stocks are up, 387 are down and 308 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec