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At lunch the ASX 200 is up by 0.5 per cent to 6,175.4, bouncing back from early losses, shaking off a 1 per cent tumble in the US and extending its winning streak to seven straight days. The Australian sharemarket (ASX 200) is now up by more than 40 per cent from its March 23 low, is closing in on 6,200pts and has gained more than 7 per cent so far this month.

This is despite global markets taking a breather in overnight trade and the World Bank predicting the global economy will likely shrink by 5.2 per cent in 2020. Investors seems to be pushing the market higher partly thanks to Australia’s success in stopping the spread of COVID-19, which is leading to the gradual reopening of the economy ahead of schedule.

What is helping at lunch are strong gains from CSL Limited (CSL), tech stocks, some retailers and gold miners. These companies are doing enough to offset weakness from property companies, energy stocks and some of the banks. While the banks are mostly lower at lunch, the losses have narrowed over the past hour, helping the ASX 200 edge higher.

Harvey Norman (HVN) is now planning to pay eligible investors a fully franked 6c/share special dividend on 29 June 2020. This follows the retailer’s decision in early April to cancel its FY20 interim dividend of 12 cents per share, due to ‘uncertainty regarding the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential impact on trading’. At the time this saved the company $149.5m of cash. Shares in HVN are up 6.8 per cent so far today. (KGN) is in a trading halt at the company’s request and has announced a $115m capital raising. The online retailer is offering additional shares to investors at $11.45 per share (a 7.5 per cent discount to yesterday’s share price). KGN said it will use the additional funds to provide flexibility to act quickly as opportunities arise. KGN’s shares have surged by more than 60 per cent Year-to-Date and has benefited from increased COVID19 demand.

On the economic front, two surveys of consumer confidence were released this morning (monthly and weekly survey). The weekly survey showed that consumer sentiment declined by 1.3 per cent to 97pts. Monthly consumer confidence however surged by 6.4 per cent in June to 93.7pts, returning to pre-virus levels back in January. Note that consumer sentiment remains below the long-run average, however confidence has been helped by Australia’s success in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and continuing with the gradual reopening of the economy.

2.3bn shares have changed hands so far today, worth an above average $4.1bn. 616 stocks are up, 548 are down and 350 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec