All the sectors in the red: ASX closes 3.6% lower

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market fell after early morning trade and continued a downward spiral to close 3.6 per cent lower. Shipping company Austal (ASX:ASB) did well today as did the Steadfast Group (ASX:SDF) seeing their shares rise. Meanwhile, Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), saw a drop in their shares as did NRW Holdings (ASX:NWH). As for the sectors today they all ended up in the red with real estate investment trust the least worst off and Financials dragging the market.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 214 points lower to finish at 5,726.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 668.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a fall of 83 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a fall of 227 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 258 point fall tomorrow morning.

Local economic news

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment fell 3.8 per cent to 91.9 in March from 95.5 in February. This is the lowest point in five years.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics report ome loan value has risen 4.6% in January
Meanwhile, the trend estimate for total dwellings approved rose 0.5% in January.

Company news

CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM) company UGL has been awarded two rail sector contracts, generating total revenue of more than $180 million. As part of a consortium, UGL been awarded a contract for the operations and maintenance of Adelaide’s North - South tram and bus network. The consortium consists of Transit Systems, UGL and John Holland, and will perform operations and maintenance on the Adelaide trams network for eight years from July 2020. Additionally, UGL has secured a contract to manufacture new locomotives for Qube Logistics, over a period of 18 months. The new locomotives will be built in Newcastle, NSW. Shares in CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM) closed 3.5 per cent lower at $19.78.

Cooper Energy (ASX:COE) says the Sole Gas Project has passed a critical milestone with the first flow of gas to the Orbost Gas Processing Plant for the second, and final, phase of commissioning.

Synlait Milk (ASX:SM1) is to acquire farmland adjacent to its Dunsandel facility in New Zealand for $25.7 million. Collectively, the farmland forms a 582-hectare unit.
Due to the continued uncertainty of the duration and scale of the coronavirus, Webjet Limited (ASX:WEB) has today withdrawn the FY20 EBITDA guidance it issued to the market on 19 February 2020. With Covid-19 spreading broadly to countries outside of China, there has been a material escalation in cancellation rates of near-term travel and a reduction in overall travel booking activity.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was REITS had the fewest losses losing 0.7 per cent while the worst performing sector was Financials, shedding 5.3 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Austal (ASX:ASB), rising 5.5 per cent to close at $3.26. Shares in Steadfast Group (ASX:SDF) and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), dropping 13 per cent to close at $0.20. Shares in NRW Holdings (ASX:NWH) and Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR) followed lower.

Asian markets

Lower: Japan’s Nikkei has lost 1.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.4 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is flat.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,665 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 4.7 per cent higher at US$92.09.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 2.3 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.44 up at US$34.80 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 65.04 US cents.