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Aussie shares have recovered from early losses in excess of 1 per cent, with the ASX 200 now up 0.3 per cent to 5,263.1 at lunch. American markets slumped by as much as 3 per cent on Friday on reports the US is threatening to lift tariffs against China at an already shaky time for markets and the global economy. Local shares slumped by 5 per cent last Friday; the worst day in five weeks for the Aussie market.

Gold miners are substantially higher, with stocks like Newcrest (NCM), Northern Star (NST), Evolution (EVN) and Saracen Minerals (SAR) up by as much as 6 per cent this morning.

Afterpay (APT) is up 25 per cent on news that Chinese technology giant, Tencent has taken a 5 per cent stake in the buy-now-pay-later company. Tencent owns Chinese messaging and payment app WeChat. The app has over 1.1 billion daily active users (a little more than WhatsApp) and is said to facilitate over 1 billion commercial transactions per day.

Westpac (WBC) is leading the banks higher at lunch, lifting by 2.5 per cent despite posting a 70 per cent slump in cash profit to $993m for the six months to March 31. The result was impacted by COVID-19 and AUSTRAC provisions and has decided to defer its decision on a dividend payment until it’s clearer what type of impact COVID-19 will have on the business. WBC usually distributes its interim dividend in June or July each year.

Bedding and homewares retailer, Adairs (ADH) said it will look at re-opening its stores in May and June. Store layout will adhere with social distancing measures. ADH shut its bricks and mortar stores in March.

Insurance Australia Group (IAG) has retained its existing FY20 market guidance, however said that ‘…there is presently limited scope to pay a final dividend in September 2020’.

Crown (CWN) said that it posted normalised NPAT of $210m between 1 June 2019 and 23 March 2020 (date it ceased gaming activities at its Melbourne and Perth casinos).

1.7bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $3.4bn. 474 stocks are up, 620 down and 322 are flat.

Markets are closed in China and Japan today due to public holidays.

Published by by CommSec