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Aussie shares are under pressure at lunch, with the ASX 200 down by 0.5 per cent and only just remaining above 6,000pts. Losses from banks, travel stocks, energy and retail names are holding the market back. Gains from gold miners, BHP, Rio Tinto (RIO) healthcare and tech stocks are helping. US markets were mixed on Friday, with the Dow jones easing by 0.2 per cent, while the broader S&P500 improved by 0.3 per cent.

This week the market is likely to respond well to signs a COVID19 vaccine is closer. AstraZeneca and Oxford University are expected to provide an update on their vaccine work in the next 24 hours. AstraZeneca has said it could deliver doses of a vaccine in the UK as early as September if results are promising.

Bad news this week will come in the form of a further spike in COVID-19 cases. The Victorian premier this morning said the state had detected another 275 cases over the past day, while NSW has identified 20. South32 (S32) is underperforming the mining sector following a mixed set of quarterly results and an impairment charge. Production still increased for its manganese, nickel, metallurgical coal (coal used to make steel), lead and zinc units.

Flexigroup (FXL) is up 6 per cent after its buy-now-pay later platform, humm, recorded a 447 per cent lift in online transactions in the fourth quarter (vs 4Q19). Humm also announced 12 new partnerships with retailers today, including luxury brand Bally, Redballoon, Snooze and Amart Furniture. The group now has over 56,000 retail partners in Australia and New Zealand. Other BNPL stocks like Afterpay (APT), Zip Co (Z1P), Openpay (OPY) and Splitit (SPT) are all higher.

Sydney Airport (AYD) released its June traffic numbers. The operator of the country’s largest airport said the decline in traffic will continue ‘as long as domestic and international travel restrictions persist’. Just 172,000 passengers made their way through the airport in June (82 per cent of which were domestic travellers). This compares to 3.4 million passengers in June 2019.

2bn shares have changed hands so far today, worth only $1.7bn. 494 stocks are up, 574 are down and 342 are unchanged.

This week won’t be a busy one on the data front, but there will be plenty of company results and updates to watch. In Australia BHP, NCM, EVN, STO, OSH, OZL, SYD and GXY are just some of the businesses set to post quarterly production updates. Overseas Amazon, Microsoft, Tesla, Twitter and eBay are all expected to release quarterly results. A number of major US airlines and CocaCola will be some other names set to post numbers. A speech by the RBA Governor on Tuesday will be listened to carefully by economists as the head of the central bank weighs in on the metro Melbourne lockdown. Later in the week, the government’s budget update will be key on Thursday. Comments relating to the future of JobKeeper will receive plenty of attention.

Published by CommSec