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ASX 200 ends Friday up 4.4%

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) ended 4.4% higher after being down as much as 8%.

It was an extraordinary day. At the start of trade the ASX fell heavily and by early afternoon it was down 8%. It would have been one of the worst days in the ASX’s history.

But then there were a number of smaller news items which may have helped investors build confidence and see bargains on the share market.

From around 1pm to the close of trade the ASX rose 12% to finish higher by 4.4%.

What were some of those news items?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that from Monday, non-essential mass gatherings of people of more than 500. However, at this moment in time there aren’t bans on ‘essential gatherings’ like school, work, university or using public transport.

Australians were also advised to avoid all non-essential travel overseas.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) also announced that it is pumping $8.8 billion into commercial banks to help global credit marks after foreign investors sold Australian government bonds.

Perhaps it was just investors sensing a bargain and deciding to act.

Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) after suspending its guidance

Flight Centre announced today that it was suspending its FY20 guidance in light of heightened coronavirus uncertainty.

It said that the virus’ spread and increased travel restrictions mean demand is softening significantly and the timeframe for recovery is unclear.

Flight Centre said that up to 100 underperforming Flight Centre shops will close in Australia. It will transfer the total transaction value (TTV) and sales staff to other shops.

Its share price ended 2.4% lower.

Shares recover

The recovery at the green end of the ASX was extraordinary. At the start of the day there were barely any shares up. By close:

The Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH) share price was up 21%.

The Netwealth Group Ltd (ASX: NWL) share price rose 18.7%.

The CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) share price went up 11.9%.

The Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) share price climbed 8%.

However, there were several shares down lower such as Collins Foods Ltd (ASX: CKF) which had to close one of its stores due to the coronavirus

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Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of Cochlear Ltd., CSL Ltd., and Netwealth. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Wesfarmers Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Cochlear Ltd. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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