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ASX 200 to open higher, Blackmores (BKL) shares skid into trading halt

SPI 200 futures contracts in Sydney are pointing to a positive start for the S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) this morning. Here’s the news you need to know…

What a day for markets!

It was another wild day for markets on Wednesday with the ASX 200 down over 1% at the open, only to rally 2% and ultimately capitulate to finish 5 points down as the session came to a close.

It was the opposite in the US, with markets sustaining gains leaving the Dow Jones up 2.2% for the day as the beaten up ‘value’ companies staged a strong recovery.

European markets benefitted from the announcement of a $1.1 trillion fiscal stimulus proposal under which the likes of Germany and France will effectively share the risk of debt used to fund the periphery.

Importantly, some $500 billion will come in the form of grants rather than loans. French carmakers including Renault (EPA:RNO) and Peugeot (EPA:UG) were up over 10% each.

Experts floundering

Pundits, commentators and so-called experts continue to pontificate over whether this sustained rally signals the end of the previous bear market, or the continuation of the existing bull as they attempt, with little accuracy, to predict what will happen next.

In my view, the unique nature of COVID-19 means traditional comparisons are moot, hence suggestions this may be a dead cat bounce is overstated.

The ASX200 was supported by the banking sector on Wednesday, as National Australia Bank and Westpac rallied 7.8% and 8.6%, respectively, following a positive report for uber-bear UBS. In fact, NAB announced a near quadrupling of its share purchase plan to $1.25 billion from $500 million.

Similarly, it was the most beaten-down ‘value’ companies benefitting from a clear rally out of defensives and materials, into cyclicals, as cement-maker Boral (ASX: BLD) and CSR Ltd (ASX: CSR) both rallied over 7%.

Gold loses its shine?

The gold sector was hardest hit as prices fell as the economic outlook improves.

Northern Star Resources Ltd and Newcrest Mining (ASX: NCM) fell over 7% each. However, you might expect short-term rallies as weak economic data continues.

Vitamin-maker Blackmore Ltd entered a trading halt seeking $117 million in fresh capital, yet the company was facing real pressure from its Chinese expansion before COVID-19 so looks a difficult proposition.

Featured video: trading halts explained

The political pressure on China continues to increase with the US State Department indicating they see the Hong Kong law changes as inappropriate. Finally, chip-maker Micron (NASDAQ: MU), increased sales forecasts by another 10% to $5.2 billion sending the entire sector, including NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA), higher.

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