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Aussie shares are losing ground for the first time in three days, with the ASX 200 down by 1 per cent to 5,351.2. Keep in mind that thanks to solid gains on Monday and Tuesday, the local market is still up by around 2 per cent so far this week. This has gone at least some way in recouping part of last Friday’s 5 per cent tumble.

The US market improved for a second day despite fading from its best levels of the session. The Dow Jones rose by 133pts or 0.6 per cent last night. Drug company, Pfizer rose strongly last night after kicking off its first human trial of an experimental coronavirus vaccine. It will initially test adults between 18 and 55. Globally in April, the market was supported by governments and central banks, strict lockdowns starting to loosen, some encouraging COVID-19 treatments and followed a 20 per cent slump for the ASX 200 in March.

James Hardie (JHX) is down by 2.3 per cent. The building products maker yesterday said it will suspend its dividend until further notice, will cut 375 jobs globally and will close some manufacturing plants. Two major brokers cut their share price targets for the stock over the next 12 months.

JB Hi-Fi (JBH) is up 3.5 per cent and the best of the retailers today. In a statement this morning, it released a solid update, Which highlighted plenty of demand for its products in March, April and in early May.

Mesoblast (MSB) is up 4.6 per cent at lunch. The biotechnology company said it has kicked off Phase 2/3 trials of its COVID-19 treatment in the US on 300 patients. MSB shares surged by 142 per cent in April on encouraging signs from its cell therapy treatment of COVID-19 patients with severe respiratory symptoms.

Medibank (MPL) has maintained its financial outlook for the year (FY20) and said it will make its decision on dividend payments in August as usual. MPL also highlighted that very few clients left the group despite COVID-19.

Bubs Australia (BUB) has signed a new supply agreement with Coles and will supply its organic grass fed goat milk infant formula to 482 supermarkets from next month. BUB is up close to 8 per cent.

Retail sales rose by a greater than expected 8.5 per cent in March (consensus 8 per cent).

1.5bn shares have traded hands so far today worth $2.6bn. 556 stocks are up, 477 down and 341 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec