Market's worst session since GFC: Aus shares close 7.3% lower

Market Reports

by Katrina Bullock

The Australian share market haemorrhaged value today in what was its worse session since the global financial crisis. The price of crude oil continues to tank, and with it the Energy sector. Light crude lost US$13.03 and the Energy sector is down over 20 per cent today. The Materials and Information Technology sectors also took a hard hit, each losing over 9 per cent. On the bright side, the historical correlation between oil and petrol prices means we are likely to see our Aussie dollar going much further at the petrol bowser. Perhaps put a hold on the items sitting in your online shopping cart from US retailers though – as the Aussie dollar today hit its lowest level compared to the greenback since 2009.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 456 points or 7.3 per cent lower to finish at 5,761. Over the day, the market wiped out more than $137 billion dollars in value.

Futures market
Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 1206 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a loss of 145 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a fall of 410 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 456 point fall tomorrow morning.

Broker moves

Citi rates buy now, pay later company Afterpay (ASX:APT) as a buy with a 12 month price target of $42.20. It says the sector is growing as evidenced by web traffic and app downloads from competitors. Citi says it will be watching Afterpay’s competitor Klarna with interest. Klarna has a first-mover advantage in the UK and is extending its lead. The broker is expecting Afterpay to leverage it's pipeline of merchants to increase customer acquisition in the UK. Over in the US, recent customer metrics suggests that, while Klarna's user base is increasing, it is not affecting Afterpay's growth. Shares in Afterpay (ASX:APT) closed 16.1 per cent lower at $27.63.

Company news

Navigator Global Investments (ASX:NGI) has released an unexpected update showing that Lighthouse Diversified Fund finished February 0.22 per cent lower year to date; and its Lighthouse Global Long/Short Fund finished 0.87 per cent lower for the same period. While these results may not seem impressive in and of themselves, the company was quick to point out they are faring much better than the S&P 500 TR Index Benchmark which is down 8.27 per cent for the period, and even the 91-Day Treasury Bill benchmark which is down 0.28 per cent. It’s the company’s practice to only release quarterly updates on investment performance, however it made an exception “given the extreme volatility in global markets at the end of February 2020”. Shares in Navigator Global Investments (ASX:NGI) are closed 12.3 per cent lower at $2.36.

A wholly owned subsidiary of Ainsworth Game Technology (ASX:AGI) has completed an asset acquisition of privately held company, MTD Gaming Inc. The initial purchase price is US$13 million, with an additional conditional US$13 million of deferred consideration if financial and contract renewal targets are met.

Renewable energy generation company Infigen (ASX:IFN) has entered into a Power Purchase Agreement for output from the Collector Wind Farm in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales.

Redbubble (ASX:RBL) have appointed Martin Hosking as interim CEO following Barry’s Newstead’s departure.

Engineering company Monadelphous Group (ASX:MND) has reported the death of one of their employees at one of their workshop facilities in Kalgoorlgie due to an incident on Saturday.

Best and worst performers of the day

The sector with the fewest losses was Utilities down 2.1 per cent while the worst performing sector was Energy, shedding over 20 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation (ASX:FPH), rising nearly 3 per cent to close at $25.20. Shares in Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) and Spark Infrastructure (ASX:SKI) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Oil Search (ASX:OSH), plummeting 35.2 per cent to close at $3.30. Shares in Santos (ASX:STO) and NRW Holdings (ASX:NWH) followed lower.

Asian markets 

lower:Japan’s Nikkei has lost 5.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has shed 3.6 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is down 2.7 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,673 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 2.6 per cent to US$90.19. Its futures are pointing to a fall of 4.1 per cent.
Light crude is US$13.03 down at US$28.25 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 65.38 US cents.