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ASX 200 lunch update: ANZ & Qantas rocket, Cochlear halted

At lunch on Wednesday the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has followed the lead of U.S. markets and is storming higher. The benchmark index is up 3.4% to 4,894.3 points at the time of writing.

Here’s what is happening on the market today:

Big four banks storm higher.          

The big four banks are doing a lot of the heavy lifting on the S&P/ASX 200 index on Wednesday. At lunch all the major banks are outperforming the index with strong gains. The best performer in the group is the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) share price with a 6.5% gain.

Qantas secures $1 billion funding

The Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) share price is rocketing higher on Wednesday. Investors have been buying the airline operator’s shares after it secured $1.05 billion in additional liquidity to strengthen its position as it manages through the coronavirus outbreak. This debt is being secured against part of the Qantas’ fleet of unencumbered aircraft.

Cochlear capital raising.

The Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH) share price is in a trading halt today whilst it undertakes an $800 million equity raise. The hearings solutions company is raising funds in order to strengthen its balance sheet during the current market uncertainties. Cochlear is raising the funds at $140.00 per share, which represents a 16% discount from the its last close price. A share purchase plan will follow.

Best and worst performers.

The best performer on the ASX 200 on Wednesday has been the Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT) share price. At lunch it is up an impressive 23%. This appears to have been driven by the prospect of a stimulus package being launched imminently by US government. Going the other way, the InvoCare Limited (ASX: IVC) share price is the worst performer on the index. The funerals company’s shares are down 16% at lunch. Investors have been selling its shares after the government put a limit on the number of people that can attend funerals to just 10.

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James Mickleboro 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. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of AFTERPAY T FPO. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Cochlear Ltd. and InvoCare Limited. 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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