Stocks shuffle lower: Worst March quarter since GFC

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market saw their worst March quarter performance since the GFC despite gains in the major banks. Many stocks shuffled lower.

As for the sectors, they all saw a drop except real estate with consumer staples and materials feeling it the most. Iron Mountain Incorporated (ASX:INM) performed well - but Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG), dropped as did Bellamy’s (ASX:BAL) and Wisetech (ASX:WTC).

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 30 points down, or 0.5 per cent lower to finish at 5,759.

On the futures market the Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 26 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a loss of 32 points.

The value of trades was $7.8 billion on volume of 885 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) and BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP),

Local economic news

Job vacancies have climbed to their highest on record in the three months to February.
Total job vacancies rose a seasonally adjusted 4.3 per cent to 220,900 in the December-February quarter, from 211,700 in the previous quarter, that’s according to fresh data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Company news

Channel Nine (ASX:BHP) has won the Australian Open tennis broadcast rights from rival Seven.

The $300 million deal will start in 2020.

The five year agreement with Tennis Australia covers rights for broadcast, streaming, mobile, digital and social platforms for the Australian Open, the Hopman Cup and the Brisbane, Sydney and Hobart internationals.

Tennis Australia chief executive says it was a ‘landmark’ deal for the association.

The Nine network is said to be thrilled with the deal.

Nine still has the rights to upcoming cricket events, including the 2019 ODI World Cup in England, both the men's and women's T20 World Cups in Australia in 2020 and the 2019 Ashes in England.

Shares in Channel Nine (ASX:NEC) closed 1.8 per cent higher at $2.27

Headlines

Magellan Financial Group (ASX:NEC) is terminating its three year partnership with Cricket Australia. The CEO says the recent events are inconsistent with their values. Australian cricket was rocked by a ball tampering scandal in Cape town earlier this week.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has today outlined concerns at MYOBs (ASX:MYO) proposed acquisition of Reckon’s Accountants Group (ASX:RKN). They say it could lead to expansion barriers for other competitors.

Star Entertainment Group(ASX:SGR) is expanding its partnership with two Hong Kong businesses with a 5 per cent stake in the casino operator. Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Far East Consortium equity investment is via a $490 million placement.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was utilities losing 0.2 per cent to close at 7557.
The worst performing sector was consumer staples, shedding 1.3 per cent to close at 10,105 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Iron Mountain Incorporated (ASX:INM), rising 4 per cent to close at $42.80. Shares in APN outdoor group (ASX:APO) and Super Retail Group (ASX:SUL) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG), dropping over 9 per cent to close at $0.93. Shares in Bellamy’s (ASX:BAL) and Wisetech (ASX:WTC) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei is flat at 0.03 per cent 2137, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.2 per cent 29,951 and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.3 per cent 3130.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1328 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.15 down to $US64.67 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 76.66 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

To some of the most traded cryptocurrencies which are trading mixed: Bitcoin has fallen around 3 per cent to US$7673, Ethereum fell 0.3 per cent to $US448 and Storm has gained about 2 per cent to US$0.04