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Aussie shares are falling heavily at lunch, with the ASX 200 down 1.1 per cent to 6,088.7, receiving an extra push lower following a record 484 new COVID-19 cases in Victoria over the past day. Keep in mind that shares on Tuesday rose by 2.6 per cent, making it the best daily advance in five weeks, hitting a six-week intraday high and the best close since early March.

Yesterday’s strong gains came off the back of encouraging signs for potential COVID-19 vaccines, a six month extension for the JobKeeper and JobSeeker emergency payments and a massive €750bn coronavirus support package in Europe.

The Australian sharemarket is currently being held back most by mining and healthcare stocks. In particular BHP and CSL, which are the two largest players in those sectors. In fact the losses from both companies are wiping out ~25pts from the ASX 200 which is down by ~65pts. Both sectors surged yesterday.

QBE Insurance (QBE) is up by 1.5 per cent despite flagging a US$750m loss over 1H20, which it blamed on the greater than anticipated COVID-19 impact on its results. The insurer has been hit by some motor vehicle premium refunds, workers’ compensation, Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance and landlord insurance costs.

Baby Bunting (BBN) is up 7.3 per cent after posting an update this morning. The baby products retailer posted a 12 per cent lift in sales to $405m over the year, a 39 per cent surge in online sales (now make up ~14.5 per cent of total sales). BBN has flagged NPAT of between $9.5-$10.5m for the year (FY19: $11.6m). BBN has received a broker upgrade today.

Beach Energy (BPT) is up 4 per cent after posting its quarterly update. Fourth quarter production of 6.8 MMboe brings full year production to 26.7 MMboe (up 2 per cent on FY19). The energy group expects underlying EBITDA to be slightly below prior guidance of $1,175m, mainly due to oil/liquid prices and the temporary impact of COVID-19 on production.

Oz Minerals (OZL) is up 4 per cent after raising its full year gold and copper guidance thanks to a lift in 1H production and lower costs. It now anticipates ~88,000 – 105,000mt of copper production (previously 83,000 – 100,000) and to produce 227,000oz of gold (previously 207,000 – 234,000) over the year.

3.6bn shares have changed hands so far, worth $3.4bn. 598 stocks are up, 562 are down and 354 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec