Latest news

The Aussie market has had a volatile start to the session, with gains from the banks and resource stocks doing enough to push the ASX 200 up 1.12 per cent to 5,372.4. Keep in mind that local shares rose by as much as 1 per cent at one stage on Tuesday before finishing 0.16 per cent in the red by the close.

The US market snapped a four-day winning streak, with technology stocks the main drag. Markets were encouraged in recent days by some US states starting to reopen. Equities however fell away in late trade as we enter the business end of the week. In the next three sessions, Boeing, Tesla, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Visa, Twitter, Exxon, Chevron will post results.

Last night, British Airways said it is preparing to cut ~12,000 jobs (around 30 per cent of its workforce) due to COVID-19. Shares in 3M rose strongly after the maker of the N95 face mask beat profit expectations. Shares in Alphabet (Google’s parent company) fell in after-hours trade following a softer than hoped profit result, while Ford also slipped on its quarterly numbers.

Coles (COL) is down 4.9 per cent following the release of a quarterly update this morning. While supermarket sales surged by 13.8 per cent between January and March thanks to stockpiling and demand linked to COVID-19, it warned that sales have largely returned to previrus levels in April. Woolworths (WOW) is also down by 2.5 per cent. Crown (CWN) is surging by 7 per cent on news that US investment firm Blackstone bought a 9.99 per cent stake in the casino operator for ~$550m. The purchase price of $8.15 per share was a 5.2 per cent discount to CWN’s Tuesday closing price.

Lendlease (LLC) is up 3.5 per cent despite raising $950m from its institutional placement at the discounted offer price of $9.80 per share. Ramsay Health Care (RHC) has finalised its agreement with the State of Victoria to make its facilities and services available during the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial term started yesterday. RHC will receive net recoverable costs for its services from the State.

A.P Eagers (APE) is up 3 per cent after agreeing on a ‘number of steps to facilitate completion’ of the sale of its Refrigerated Logistics division to Anchorage. APE will now receive $75m when the sale is completed (previously ~$100m). Iluka (ILU) said mineral sands output fell 16 per cent to 153k tonnes in the first quarter. ILU shares are down 22 per cent so far this calendar year. Regis Resources (RRL) said that gold output slipped by 5 per cent to 86,300oz, sold at an average price of A$2,297/oz, while its all-in sustaining costs fell by ~4 per cent to A$1,174 per ounce. FY20 production guidance is steady.

The Consumer Price Index rose by 0.3 per cent in the March quarter (forecast 0.2 per cent). The stronger result reflected the impact of drought and bushfires on food prices and early effects of COVID-19.

Japan’s sharemarket is closed for the Showa Day holiday.

1.4bn shares have changed hands so far today worth a substantial $3.4bn. 673 stocks are up, 335 down and 287 are flat.

Published by CommSec