The Australian share market plummeted at the open after the Dow plunged as Coronavirus fears grew despite President Donald Trump tweeting that the virus is very much under control. Shares are now tracking 1.4 per cent lower at noon with the benchmark trading below 7000 for the first time since early February. The Australian dollar is also trading at a ten year low. Among the sectors Communication Services stocks are taking the biggest hit.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 90 points down at 6,888. On the futures market the SPI is 97 points lower.
Citi has rated BlueScope Steel (ASX:BSL) as a Buy. On assessment, BlueScope Steel released a better-than-expected interim performance, but also provided soft guidance for H2. Uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus is prominent and the analysts believe market sentiment will likely remain weak for the time being. It is Citi's view that share price weakness is creating an attractive entry-point for investors looking beyond the short term. Buy rating retained, with a price target of $15. Shares in BlueScope Steel (ASX:BSL) are currently trading 1.3 per cent higher at $12.79.
Local economic news
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Vitamins giant Blackmores (ASX:BKL) will enter the Indian market and launch a series of new supplements for pets. The company announced the developments on Tuesday morning adding it will also increase investment in its key China growth market. The moves are part of an overhaul of the group's strategy after the company earlier confirmed that its first half net profit had fallen 47 per cent to $18.2 million blaming regulatory change in China and additional new manufacturing costs. Shares in Blackmores (ASX:BKL) are trading 1.9 per cent lower at $68.37.
Caltex Australia (ASX:CTX) has appointed their Chief Financial Officer, Matthew Halliday as interim CEO following the retirement of Julian Segal. Mr. Halliday will commence in the role on 2 March 2020 with current Deputy CFO, Jeff Etherington being appointed Interim CFO. Despite no permanent replacement being found, Caltex Chairman, Steven Gregg said the Board recognises the critical importance of CEO succession and the company has made significant progress in their search over the last six months, following disappointing 2019 financial result. Shares in Caltex Australia (ASX:CTX) are trading 0.9 per cent lower at $34.16.
Best and worst performers
The sector with the fewest losses is Info Tech shedding 0.2 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Communcation Services at 2.4 per cent lower.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Jumbo Interactive (ASX:JIN) rising 4.2 per cent to $12.17, followed by shares in Ooh Media (ASX:OML) and Appen (ASX:APX).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Bravura Solutions (ASX:BVS), dropping 6.8 per cent to $5.21, followed by shares in St Barbara (ASX:SBM) and Saracen Minerals (ASX:SAR).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,648 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 0.4 per cent lower at US$91.88.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 1.9 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 66.16cents.