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Aussie shares are managing to remain in positive territory at lunch on Tuesday, with the ASX 200 lifting by 134pts of 2.6 per cent to 5,131.7. What is encouraging is that the index has avoided falling below Friday’s low of 4,873, bounced off 5,000pts and has shaken off the US market’s massive 12.9 per cent decline last night.

The negative is that the Aussie market fell by 9.7 per cent on Monday, has shed ~28 per cent over the past 18 days and remains extremely volatile. So much so that the market could find itself in a completely different position by market close. Markets are likely to continue to be unpredictable until the COVID-19 situation stabilises.

A number of world leaders ramped up their response to the Coronavirus overnight. President Trump
recommended Americans avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people and said a US recession is a possibility. France ordered people stay home for the next 15 days due to the pandemic, Canada is closing its borders to noncitizens and Germany will shut down most retail outlets, churches, sports facilities, bars and clubs.

The Aussie market is being supported most so far today by the big banks, mining stocks, consumer staples and healthcare businesses. BHP, South32 (S32) and Rio Tinto (RIO) have improved by close to 10 per cent so far today.

Qantas (QAN) is down 1.7 per cent after cutting 90 per cent of all international and 60 per cent of domestic services until at least the end of May 2020. It expects to phase the changes in from the end of the month due to the Coronavirus. QAN shares have fallen by more than 55 per cent over the past 18 sessions due to a significant drop in travel demand.

Ardent Leisure (ALG) has entered a trading halt. The owner of Dreamworld plans to make an announcement
relating to the impact of the Coronavirus and government responses on its business.

Select Harvests (SHV) is up 8 per cent after saying it is “…optimistic about its almond crop size and quality.” It also has seen a lift in international demand and strong sales in China.

1.7bn shares have changed hands worth $5bn. 459 stocks rose, 629 fell and 266 finished unchanged.

Published by CommSec