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ASX 200 enters bull market, up 1.9% today

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has gone up 1.9% today, meaning it has entered a bull market.

It’s hard to believe that after one of the worst share market crashes in history, it has since risen 20.7% since the 23 March 2020 low.

Here are some of the highlights in the first trading day after Easter:

More capital raisings in the ASX 200

Companies continue go to the market for capital raisings to strengthen their balance sheets.

Funeral business InvoCare Limited (ASX: IVC) went into a trading halt and announced a capital raising. It was originally looking to raise $150 million from institutions and $50 million in a share purchase plan (SPP). The AFR is reporting that the institution placement will now be $200 million. The raising price will be $10.40 per share, a 7.8% discount.

Insurance giant QBE Insurance Group Ltd (ASX: QBE) also announced a capital raising of up to US$825 million, including a US$750 million institutional placement. The raising price will be $8.25 per new share, a 9.4% discount.

Big earnings hit for Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC)

One of the ASX’s big banks announced a number of provisions and asset write-downs today, totalling around $1.43 billion.

Most of this relates to a provision for AUSTRAC proceedings and response plan, costing $1.03 billion after tax. There was also $260 million after tax for provisions for customer refunds, repayments and litigation.

In reaction the Westpac share price ended the day up almost 2%.

Big day for Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT)

The share price of Afterpay rocketed 29% today as the buy now, pay later business said it was still doing well despite the huge issues caused by the coronavirus. It was the strongest performer in the ASX 200. 

In the year to March 2020 it generated $7.3 billion of underlying sales – 105% higher than the prior corresponding period. Online sales in March represented 88% of total global underlying sales, and ANZ online sales were up 8% in the second half of March compared to the first half.

However, the second half of March saw global underlying sales decline 4% compared to the first half of March 2020. Looking beneath that 4% number regionally, ANZ underlying sales were 2% lower, US sales were 5% lower and UK sales were 15% lower.

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As of 7/4/20

Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of AFTERPAY T FPO. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended 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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