WOW and COL rise as consumers stock up on toot paper: Aus shares 5.3% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Katrina Bullock

The Australian share market opened higher but took a nosedive in the first 10 minutes of trade and hasn’t managed to recover. It’s trading 5.3 per cent lower at noon. The economic effects of coronavirus continue to impair the market. Coles Group (ASX:COL) and Woolworths (ASX:WOW) however have bucked the trend and found themselves on the best performers table this morning, as Aussies stock up on toilet paper and other non-perishable goods in preparation for a potential coronavirus quarantine.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 294 points lower at 5,246. The futures market indicates that the losses will continue, but at a slower rate, with the SPI pointing to a further fall of 2.2 per cent.

Local economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released figures on the international travel movements of persons arriving in and departing from Australia in January. January 2020 saw arrivals increase 1.6 per cent compared to the previous year. Overseas visitor arrivals to Australia were up 0.1 per cent (trend terms) since the previous month. Australian resident returns from overseas increased 0.4 per cent (trend terns) compared to December.

Broker moves

Morgan Stanley has downgraded Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) to an underweight stock, slashing its 12 month price target from $75.50 to $60 flat. The broker believes the outlook for Australian banks has shifted, given the combination of lower rates, less pricing power and a potential loan loss cycle. Shares in Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) are trading 5.2 per cent lower at $62.94.

Company news

Coal miner, TerraCom (ASX:TER) has provided an update on its controversial offer, through its subsidiary TCIG Resources to acquire the share capital of Universal Coal (ASX:UNV) that it does not already own. It says that acceptances received to date, when aggregated with TerraCom Bidco’s existing holding in Universal, mean that TerraCom has the right to exercise approximately 59 per cent of the voting rights attaching to Universal shares. Legal proceedings connected to the troubled takeover are still on foot and yet to be resolved. Universal Coal commenced proceedings in the High Court of Justice of England and Wales over TerraCom’s unsolicited offer for a takeover. On another note, TerraCom continues to deny allegations made by an ex-employee that it altered assay reports to improve the quality of its coal shipments for export. Shares in TerraCom (ASX:TER) are trading nearly 29 per cent lower at 14 cents.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector, and the only one that’s made gains this morning is Consumer Staples, adding nearly 0.5 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Industrials, shedding 7.9 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Qantas (ASX:QAN), rising 2.5 per cent to $3.26, followed by shares in Woolworths (ASX:WOW) and Bravura Solutions (ASX:BVS).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Netwealth (ASX:NWL),dropping 21.7 per cent to $5.08, followed by shares in Atlas (ASX:ALX) and Cochlear (ASX:COH).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading higher at US$1,537 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 1.1 per cent to US$91.71
Iron ore futures are also pointing to a rise of 1.1 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 61.18 US cents.