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At lunch on Tuesday, the Australian sharemarket has given back this morning’s gains of close to 1 per cent, with the ASX 200 down by ~0.1 per cent to 5,317.3 at 12pm AEST. A handful of stocks are holding the equity market back, including National Australia Bank (NAB), CSL, Mesoblast and most gold miners.

The lack of enthusiasm comes despite a solid lead from Wall Street overnight, which has improved for four straight days as a number of countries start to slowly reopen their economies. A number of US states have allowed certain businesses to resume some level of activity, Italy unveiled a timetable for reopening its economy starting next week and Spain allowed kids to leave their homes for the first time in six weeks. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian in a press conference this morning said that from May 1, a maximum of two adults can visit anyone else in their homes.

Most of the meaty releases are yet to come this week. This includes quarterly results from the five largest companies in the United States (Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet and Facebook). Combined those five companies are close to three times larger than the whole Australian sharemarket.

National Australia Bank (NAB) has resumed trade today after successfully raising $3bn from institutional investors at a discounted price of A$14.15 (an 8.5 per cent discount to its last traded price less dividend). The new shares will not be entitled to the next reduced dividend of 30c. NAB is down 2 per cent.

Westpac (WBC) announced 1H20 impairment charges of $2.24bn (with $1.6bn attributed to COVID-19 impacts). WBC is up 2.5 per cent after slumping on Monday.

Gold miners are also under pressure at lunch on a softer price of the precious metal and a little more optimism in markets so far this week. Northern Star (NST) and St Barbara Mines (SBM) have released quarterly updates this morning. While NST sold significantly more gold, SBM’s all-in sustaining cost is lower at A$1,405 per ounce (vs NST’s at A$1,590/oz).

Mesoblast (MSB) is down 14 per cent after back-to-back 40 per cent gains for the Melbourne based biotechnology firm. MSB has had success treating COVID-19 patients in the US with a stem-cell treatment. Lendlease (LLC) entered a halt this morning as it looks to raise $1.15bn in capital from investors. Charter Hall Retail REIT (CQR) is down 5 per cent after raising $275m from institutional investors at $2.90. CQR shares currently trade at $2.99.

Wesfarmers (WES) said it has had stronger than usual demand at its Bunnings and Officeworks stores, while earnings at Target have decreased significantly.

1.6bn shares have changed hands so far worth $2.7bn. 639 stocks are up, 381 down and 290 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec