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Aussie shares are kicking off the new month, quarter and financial year with gains, as the ASX 200 is lifting by 0.9 per cent to 5,949.8. The market is hovering around intraday highs despite news late yesterday that Victoria is placing 10 postcodes (36 suburbs) back in lockdown due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

June ended up being a solid month and quarter for local stocks. The ASX 200 rose by ~2.5 per cent in June and ~16 per cent over the June quarter, making it the market’s best quarterly performance since September 2009. Over the financial year however, the index fell ~11 per cent due to COVID-19’s impact on the market in February and March. Keep in mind Aussie stocks hit record highs in February following the US and China signing a Phase One trade deal in January. Healthcare stocks, technology and consumer staples were some of the best performers over the year while energy, financials and property fell hardest.

With the exception of utilities, all other sectors are higher at lunch. Consumer staples, energy, healthcare and telcos could be vulnerable to a potential pullback in coming hours due to only modest improvements.

AMP has completed the $3bn sale of its life insurance business to British group, Resolution Life. AMP will receive $2.5bn in cash and a $500m equity interest in Resolution Life Australia. This is part of the wealth manager’s strategy to simplify its operations.

Temple & Webster (TPW) is in a halt as it raises $40m from institutional investors at $5.70/share. This is at a near 10 per cent discount to Tuesday’s closing price and intends to use the proceeds to fund growth, strengthen its balance sheet and improve its digital platform. The furniture retailer recorded a 130 per cent lift in sales last month (vs May). TPW shares have more than doubled Year-to-Date.

Oil Search (OSH) said that production costs will be a touch lower than it previously flagged. OSH now anticipates production costs of US$10.50 per barrel in 2020 (prior guidance: US$11-$12/bl).

Flight Centre (FLT) has secured £65m in additional funding to help its UK operations. FLT had already raised ~$700m from Aussie investors back in May. Tourism has come to a halt due to COVID-19, hurting the whole travel industry.

Auckland Airport (AIA) has warned of further job cuts as tourism remains at a standstill. AIA shares are slipping by 2.9 per cent. Helloworld (HLO) is up 7 per cent after announcing the sale of its LA based wholesale business to a group in Seattle called Down Under Answers. HLO reassured investors that ‘neither the sale price or the business are material’ to its results. Air New Zealand (AIZ) has suspended passenger flights to Melbourne until 14 July due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

2.7bn shares have changed hands, worth a relatively light $2.8bn. 861 stocks are up, 296 down and 282 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec