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Aussie shares are lifting strongly at lunch, with the ASX 200 lifting by 193pts or 4 per cent to 4,974 thanks to gains across most sectors and a positive lead from global markets. Keep in mind that local shares hit four-year lows yesterday, have slumped by ~10 per cent this week and the ASX 200 is still down by close to 30 per cent in four weeks due to the worrying spread of the Coronavirus.

While most sectors and stocks are lifting today, some of the best performers are those hardest hit recently. Afterpay (APT) is up 41 per cent, CIMIC (CIM) is surging by 30 per cent, Scentre (SCG) is up 25 per cent and Mirvac (MGR) is lifting by 24 per cent.

Banks have announced plans to defer small business loan repayments for six months to help borrowers impacted by the Coronavirus crisis. Small businesses which employ around five million people in Australia are at risk in coming months.

Premier Investments (PMV) is up 13 per cent following a strong set of half year results. Sales rose by 4.2 per cent to $732m, profit hit $99.6m and PMV will pay investors a 34c dividend. Its two best performing brands – Smiggle and Peter Alexander – continued to record solid numbers. Peter Alexander sales rose by 11 per cent to $144.8m while Smiggle sales gained 8.3 per cent to $193.7m. Other brands like Just Jeans, Jay Jays, Dotti, Jacqui E and Portmans managed to lift sales as well.

Telstra (TLS) is down 2 per cent. The telco has put on hold any further job cuts for the next six months, is bringing forward 5G investment and confirmed it will pay investors a dividend next week. TLS said the Coronavirus will have a ‘material’ impact on the company and currently expects earnings to be at the lower end of its target.

Sonic (SHL) is down 9.3 per cent and has withdrawn its FY20 profit expectations due to the level of uncertainty with COVID-19. Its labs in Australia, the US and Europe have been testing 1000s of patients each day for the virus.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is kicking off its QE today with $5bn in bond purchases aimed at keeping borrowing costs low.

1.9nm shares have changed hands so far worth $4.5bn. 738 stocks are up, 358 down and 251 are flat.

Published by CommSec