Jobs fell by 7.5% between March 14 and April 18: ASX tracking 1.3% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market shot up at the open and continues to maintain momentum and is now tracking 1.3 per cent higher at noon. With the Energy sector topping the list so far today and healthcare coming in last.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 68 points up at 5,387. On the futures market the SPI is 73 points higher.

Local economic news

ABS Nearly a third of Australians (31%) reported that their household finances had worsened due to COVID-19. One in four Australians aged 18 years and over (28%) reported receiving the first one-off $750 economic support payment from the Commonwealth Government

And the accommodation and food services industry continued to be the most impacted by COVID-19, with a drop of around one in three paid jobs in the industry from mid-March to mid-April.

The Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia estimates also showed that between 14 March and 18 April (the five weeks after Australia recorded its 100th confirmed COVID-19 case) total employee jobs decreased by 7.5%, while total wages paid by employers decreased by 8.2%.

Broker moves

Morgans rates home furnishings retailer Adairs (ASX:ADH) as an Upgrade to an Add from a Hold. A 221 per cent surge in online sales has helped to offset sales losses due to Adairs store closures, netting to total sales down -37 per cent in five weeks. Stores are set to progressively reopen over May-June, and liquidity is sufficient to ensure no intention to raise capital.
While earnings forecasting remain difficult, the company's liquidity position and online strength lead the broker to increase its target to $2.17 from $1.22 and upgrade to Add from Hold. Shares in Adairs (ASX:ADH) are currently 7.5 per cent higher at $1.58.

Company news

Zoono Group (ASX:ZNO) invoiced business to business (B2B) sales in excess of NZ$11.0 million (unaudited) for the month of April, 2020. This does not include online consumer sales, which were closed for all but the last seven days of the month due to heavy demand. Zoono has recently also signed a number of new distribution agreements in the UK and Europe, such as Rentokil and West Yorkshire Police. London Underground and UK and German mainline trains and stations are also being treated with Zoono and strong sales (in excess of NZ$2 million) have been generated in India and China. Zoono also signed a new Australian distribution agreement with Johns Lyng Group (ASX JLG). Shares in Zoono Group (ASX:ZNO) are trading 12.7 per cent higher at $1.69.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy gaining 4.1 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Healthcare losing 0.2 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Polynovo (ASX:PNV) rising 9.7 per cent to $2.26, followed by shares in Collins Food (ASX:CKF) and Bravura Solutions (ASX:BVS

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) dropping 3.4 per cent to $4.23, followed by shares in Perenti Global (ASX:PRN) and Inghams (ASX:ING).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei and China’s Shanghai Composite is closed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 1.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,699 an ounce.
Iron ore price is flat at US$84.04
Iron ore futures are suggesting a rise of 2.5 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 64.44US cents.

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