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Aussie shares are lifting for the first time this week, with the ASX 200 up 0.4 per cent to 5,241.2 thanks to strong gains from mining, energy and tech stocks. Despite the improvement, the market has faded from this morning’s highs of a 1.2 per cent lift and fails to recoup much of this week’s ~5 per cent slump.

The price of oil jumped by 19 per cent overnight to US$13.78 per barrel. This followed President Trump tweeting that he has ordered US warships to ‘shoot down and destroy’ Iranian vessels if they pose a threat. Keep in mind that the WTI oil price slumped by 43 per cent a day earlier due to a lack of storage remaining in the US. With gold and iron ore also lifting overnight, energy and mining stocks are among the best performers so far today.

Myer (MYR) has made the decision to extend the temporary store closures until at least May 11. MYR said that due to its online business performing strongly, approximately 20 per cent of its workforce have been asked to return to work to support online fulfilment. All other employees remain stood down.

Santos (STO) is standing out, lifting by ~6 per cent after releasing its first quarter update. Due to a fall in production and a 13 per cent slide in average realised oil price received by the group, sales
revenue declined by 14 per cent to US$883m. It has reduced CAPEX (capital expenditure) by 38 per cent to $186m to save on costs.

Gold miner, Evolution (EVN) has kept its FY20 guidance unchanged. Group gold production fell by 3 per cent over the prior quarter however all-in-sustaining costs fell by a more substantial 7 per cent to A$991 per ounce. EVN said COVID-19 has not had a material impact on its operations.

Ramsay Health Care (RHC) has completed its $1.2bn Institutional Placement of 21.4m new shares at a price of $56 per share (a 13 per cent discount to its closing price on Tuesday). RHC has been slipping by ~5 per cent for most of the morning.

Carsales.com (CAR) has temporarily stood down ~250 employees mainly in external customer facing roles.

Thorn Group (TGA) has announced the permanent closure of its 62 Radio Rentals stores and selected warehouses amid the coronavirus-driven downturn in the rental sector. The decision will make around 300 casual and full-time staff redundant over the next three months.

Infomedia (IFM) has entered a trading halt ahead of a capital raising announcement.

1.5bn shares have changed hands so far worth $2.2bn. 674 stocks are up, 321 down and 270 are unchanged at lunch.

Published by CommSec