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The Australian sharemarket has recovered from a soft start, with the ASX 200 up 0.34 per cent to 6,801.8 despite a weak lead from Wall Street and concerns of lockdowns in parts of Europe. While
the market has been unable to gather enough momentum to take the index back to February’s 11-month high, the ASX 200 remains in its sixth straight month of gains.

Energy stocks are standing out following a 5.9 per cent lift in oil prices overnight. A container ship has blocked passage through the Suez Canal; one of the world’s most heavily used shipping lanes. Oil prices slumped by 6.2 per cent a day earlier on concerns of COVID-19’s continued spread in Europe. France and Italy imposed partial lockdowns last week while Germany recently announced a strict five-day lockdown from 1 April.

Resolute Mining (RSG) is down 22 per cent following an update from the gold miner last night. The Ghanaian Minerals Commission terminated the Mining Lease for its Bibiani Gold mine site without explanation. RSG said ‘the action is unexpected’ and is now seeking legal advice ‘on the validity of the notice’. RSG came to an agreement to sell the mine for US$105m in December last year.

Brickworks (BKW) is up 4.3 per cent after releasing its half-year results this morning. The building products company’s revenue slipped by 4 per cent to $432m while statutory profit rose by 22 per cent to $71m. Its North American operations have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The sale of building products in Australia however has improved, with EBIT up 6 per cent. It generated four times as much EBIT in Australia than the US. It also raised its dividend by 5 per cent to 21c.

A2 Milk (A2M) is down ~2 per cent and has fallen to a three-year low. The infant formula and fresh milk company has cut its profit goals on three occasions in six months partly due to border closures with China. A2M shares have only improved once in 17 trading days.

Airtasker (ART) is down 13 per cent after lifting by 67 per cent on Wednesday and 61.5 per cent on its market debut on Tuesday.

Suncorp (SUN) said it has received more than 5400 flood related claims as at 4pm AEDT Wednesday. Around 80 per cent of claims were in NSW while over 85 per cent of claims related to property damage.

Around $600m will be paid in dividends to eligible investors today, from Medibank (MPL), Shaver Shop (SSG), Adairs (ADH), Santos (STO), Regis Resources (RRL), Oil Search (OSH), Downer (DOW) and Newcrest Mining (NCM).

2.6bn shares have changed hands so far worth $2bn, with 577 stocks up, 624 down and 371 unchanged.

Published by CommSec