Big four banks continue to fall: Aus shares close 2.8% lower

Market Reports

by Ortenzia Borre

The Australian share market continued to plummet in the back half of the trading session and closed 2.8 per cent lower. All the big four banks continued to fall following Wednesday’s RBA’s rate cut with Ooh! Media (ASX:OML)and Avita Medical (ASX:AVH) leading the losses. Qantas Airways (ASX:QAN) also saw an 8 per cent hit at the end of today’s session after the company announced further flight cancellations. Gold producers have spent the day at the top of the leader board with Saracen Minerals (ASX:SAR) and Gold Road (ASX:GOR) up over 5 per cent with Regis Resources (ASX:RRL) not far behind.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 180 points lower to finish at 6,216 and over the week totaling 225 points down or 3.6 per cent.

Futures markets are all lower

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 346 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a fall of 43 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a drop of 124 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 202 point fall for Monday morning.

Broker moves

Citi has upgraded Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL) from Neutral to Buy.
The brokers healthcare sector analysts have used a general re-assessment following February’s reporting season to upgrade the healthcare provider. Citi says there is always potential for upside through acquisitions, though Citi isn't forecasting any for the time being.
Outside further acquisitions, the analysts view Sonic Healthcare as a stable and well managed business. They remind investors organic revenue growth normally ranges from 3-6%, depending on the geography. In addition, it is rare for regulatory changes in multiple geographies in any given year.
Price target lifts to $33.75 from $33.50.
Shares in Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL) closed 3.4 per cent higher at $30.78.

Economic news

Australian retail turnover fell 0.3 per cent in January 2020 in figures released this morning by the ABS.

This follows a fall of 0.7 per cent in December 2019.

Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys, Ben James, said bushfires in January negatively impacted a range of retail businesses across a variety of industries and retailers reported a range of impacts that reduced customer numbers, including interruptions to trading hours and tourism.

The trend estimate for Australian retail turnover rose 0.1 per cent in January 2020, following a 0.1 per cent rise in December 2019. Compared to January 2019, the trend estimate rose 2.3 per cent.

Online retail turnover contributed 6.3 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms in January 2020. In January 2019, online retail turnover contributed 5.6 per cent to total retail.

Company news

Austal (ASX:ASB) is pleased to announce the on-time delivery of the sixth Guardian-class Patrol Boat (GCPB) to the Australian Department of Defence. The vessel, the RFNS Savenaca, was today gifted by the Government of Australia to the Government of Fiji during a handover ceremony at Austal Australia’s Henderson shipyard. Austal Chief Executive David Singleton said the first Guardian-class Patrol Boat delivery for 2020 highlighted the Australian shipyard’s continuing gains in productivity and efficiency, which is delivering a new naval vessel every 3 months. The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (PPB-R) Project was awarded to Austal in May 2016, with an additional contract option awarded in April 2018, taking the program to 21 vessels valued at more than A$335 million. Shares in Austal (ASX:ASB) closed 5.3 per cent lower at $3.21.

Looking at some more headlines:

Nufarm (ASX:NUF) has received clearance for sale of Nufarm Brazil to Sumitomo.

Cashwerkz (ASX:CWZ) establish pilot program with Mozo, introducing their online marketplace to the direct consumer and for the first time in a comparison site.

Marine propulsion and gyro stabilisation company, VEEM (ASX:VEE) has successfully constructed the world’s largest and most powerful known gyrostabilizer.

Best and worst performers of the day

The sector with the fewest losses was Consumer Staples dropping 0.3 per cent while the worst performing sector was Financials, shedding 4.2 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX:SAR), rising 5.9 per cent to close at $4.29. Shares in Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR) and Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (ASX:CUV) followed.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Ooh! Media (ASX:OML), dropping 11.2 per cent to close at $2.39. Shares in Avita Medical (ASX:AVH) and Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK) followed lower.

Asian markets

Lower: Japan’s Nikkei has dropped 3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has shed 2.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.9 per cent.

Wall Street

Over the last four trading days the Dow Jones has gained 2.7 per cent.
The S&P500 Index has gained 2.3 per cent
The NASDAQ has gained 2 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,678 an ounce. 
Iron ore price rose 1.7 per cent to US$92.57.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.9 per cent.
Light crude is US55 cents lower at US$45.35 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 65.97 US cents.