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ASX rally resumes on hopes for an end to virus shutdowns

Australian shares posted strong gains to end the week, supported by US President Donald Trump’s plan to restart the US economy along with speculation over a potential treatment to successfully combat the coronavirus.

Having been up more than 2.5 per cent at one point in early trade, the local market’s gains were trimmed towards the close with benchmark S&P/ASX 200 finishing the session up 71.2 points, or 1.3 per cent, at 5487.5.

The Short Squeeze looks at the unusual business and central bank behaviour caused by lock downs to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The Short Squeeze looks at the unusual business and central bank behaviour caused by lock downs to slow the spread of coronavirus. Credit:Louie Douvis

Mirroring the reaction to another raft of weak US economic data released on Thursday, investors looked through news that China’s economy contracted by a record amount in the March quarter, along with weaker-than-expected retail sales and fixed asset investment data for March.

For the week, the index gained 1.9 per cent, the fourth increase in a row. The benchmark has now rallied 24.7 per cent from the lows struck on March 23.

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