Coles (ASX:COL) put aside $20m for underpaid salaries: ASX closed 0.2% lower

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market closed 0.2 per cent lower today failing to gain momentum after dropping at the open. Shares in the Monadelphous Group (ASX:MND) rose today after they released their results showing a revenue rise. Tech stocks slid with Altrium (ASX:ALU) falling the most. The best-performing sector is utilities.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 11 points down to finish at 7,114.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 95 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 10 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a fall of 57 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 19 point fall for tomorrow morning.

Local economic news

The minutes were released this morning from the latest board meeting at the Reserve Bank of Australia, they report low interested are probably required for an extended period and that coronavirus presents a new source of uncertainty regarding the global outlook.

Company news

The Coles Group (ASX:COL) report net profit fell 33.7 per cent to $489 million from $738 million in the same corresponding period. First half sales revenue excluding Fuel sales and Hotels increased by 3.3 per cent with growth in all segments. Group EBIT also includes a provision of $20 million (comprising $16 million in Supermarkets and $4 million in Liquor) for estimated salary related payments, interest and on costs covering the prior six years. This impacts less than 1 per cent of team members, associated with the ongoing Award covered salaried team member review. Shares in the Coles Group (ASX:COL) closed 1 per cent lower at $16.75.

Global software company LiveTiles (ASX:LVT) says that Wizdom has successfully met its earn-out conditions. Wizdom is Europe’s leading intranet software business acquired by Livetiles in February 2019. It has achieved strong ARR growth of 87 per cent in the 13 month period to 31 January 2020 (from $8.0 million to $15.0 million). Shares in LiveTiles (ASX:LVT) close 4.4 per cent lower at $0.33.

Hearing implant manufacturer Cochlear's (ASX:COH) reported net profit increased by 23 per cent to $157.7 million and includes $25.0 million in non-cash after-tax gains from the revaluation of innovation fund investments.

BHP (ASX:BHP) has reported a 29 per cent increase in half-year profit to $US4.9 billion, that’s $7.30 billion Australian.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Utilities adding 0.5 per cent while the worst performing sector was, Infotech shedding 1.2 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Monadelphous Group (ASX:MND) rising 5.5 per cent to $17.28, followed by shares in AMP (ASX:AMP) and NRW Holdings (ASX:NWH).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Altium (ASX:ALU), dropping 7.9 per cent to close at $39.6. Shares in Ooh!Media (ASX:OML) and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (ASX:BEN) followed lower.

Asian markets

Lower: Japan’s Nikkei has lost 1.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 1.4 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.4 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,586 an ounce.
Iron ore price has added 2 per cent at US$98.48.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.27 up at US$52.59 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 66.92 US cents.