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Aussie shares continue to lift strongly following a strong lead from Wall Street, yesterday’s announcement of a massive $130bn government support package and better than expected data on China’s economy at lunch. The ASX 200 is lifting by 144pts or 2.8 per cent to 5,325.6.

On Monday, the All Ordinaries rose by 6.56 per cent; its best improvement since 20 October 1980. A large portion of those gains came in the final 15 minutes of the session as Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled a $130bn wage subsidy; the government’s third support package. This will involve $1500 fortnightly payments to potentially around six million workers for at least six months starting in May. This is aimed at helping businesses significantly impacted by COVID-19 (30 per cent reduction in revenue for businesses with less than $1bn in annual turnover). This follows the first two government packages announced on 12 March and 22 March.

US stocks kicked off the week with a gain of ~3.4 per cent overnight as markets responded to the American government’s US$2.2 trillion stimulus package which was signed into law over the weekend. This is the largest relief package in US history and includes one-off payments of up to $1200 per person.

While equities rose globally overnight, commodities declined. Oil slumped by close to 7 per cent to an 18-year low as markets face both significant oversupply and lower demand. Despite the fact that oil prices have tumbled by around 65 per cent from mid-February, energy stocks like Santos (STO) and Woodside (WPL) are managing to lift.

While it is a sea of green on our screens so far today, shares in some recent outperformers are slipping. This includes Coles (COL), Woolworths (WOW) and gold miners.

The Star Entertainment Group (SGR) is up 8 per cent as the casino operator announced the deferral of its next dividend by three months to July. SGR stood down 8100 workers last week.

Kathmandu (KMD) is in a trading halt. The adventure retailer announced store closures last Friday. Virgin Australia (VAH) said it has asked the Federal government for $1.4bn in assistance as travel has come to a halt due to the Coronavirus. VAH stood down approximately 80 per cent of its workforce in recent weeks.

Tuesday is one of the busier days of the year for interim dividend payments. Around $5bn is set to be distributed to eligible investors today. It is made up mostly of payments from CBA, WES, SUN and BEN.

A weekly read of consumer confidence out this morning, slumped by 9.6 per cent to a record low. This follows a 27 per cent drop in sentiment. The survey period did not take into account yesterday’s $130bn support package announcement.

2.1bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $5.5bn. 896 stocks are up, 234 are down and 219 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec