The sharemarket reversed a dramatic fall at the open, with the benchmark index ending the day in positive territory despite an overnight sell-off on Wall Street.

US markets fell 2 per cent overnight after the top US diseases expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, gave a revised and bleak outlook that included “suffering and death” if the American economy were to reopen too early, which stood in contrast to President Donald Trump’s keenness to move toward opening.
Materials provided the most support on Tuesday, despite the further developments adding to the chill in relations between Beijing and Canberra.
As investors weighed the threat to Australia’s various exports, shares in local coal producers fell.
While coal products have not yet been caught up in the stoush, the bulk commodity is considered more at risk than iron ore, leaving Whitehaven Coal’s shares 2 per cent lower at $1.73 by the close of trade, New Hope 1.1 per cent worse off at $1.38, and had Yancoal Australia dipping 0.8 per cent to $2.40.
The expected resilience or iron ore saw the local producers listed among the top performers in the ASX 200 on Wednesday. BHP gained 0.8 per cent to close at $30.99, Fortescue Metals Group rose 3.7 per cent to $12.15 and Rio Tinto gained 1 per cent to close at $83.43.
Investors further discounted soft commodity exporters, with beef producer Australian Agricultural Company shedding 2.4 per cent to $1.02, and GrainCorp sliding 1.2 per cent to $3.29.
Commonwealth Bank led the news with its quarterly update, which showed it had put aside $1.5 billion to provide for the rise in bad debts expected as a result of the strain placed on households and businesses from the pandemic.
CBA reported a 23 per cent fall in March quarter cash profit, which was followed by a 1.9 rise in the bank’s shares over the session as investors compared the result with their forecasts. The stock ended the day at $60.85.
Genworth Mortgage Insurance fell 5.7 per cent to $2 after credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings lowered its insurer financial strength rating for the company to “A” from “A+”.
Fitch’s assessment of Australia’s largest loan mortgage insurance provider noted that Genworth was well positioned relative to its peers but said the company’s earnings were likely to be hit because of the pandemic.
As restrictions are eased around the country, GPT Group told investors on Wednesday that half of its shopping centre tenants were now trading, up from 35 per cent at the end of last month.
An update from Eclipx pushed its shares up 4.8 per cent to 87¢. The fleet vehicle and car financing company’s reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $37.2 million for the six months ended March 31, up from $31.9 million in the year-earlier period.
Regional Express confirmed it is exploring the option of raising $200 million to fund an expansion into domestic routes and had been approached by several parties. The airline’s shares surged 32.2 per cent to $1.19.
Across the Tasman, meantime, the Reserve Bank of New Zeealand announced plans to almost double its quantitative easing progamme limit to $NZ60 billion ($55.7 billion), causing the value of the Australian dollar relative to its neighbour’s to surge more than 1 per cent after the announcement. By late afternoon one Australian dollar was fetching just above $NZ1.07.