The Australian share market took a dive at the open and lost ground over the day to close 9.7 per cent lower, as the COVID 19 virus continues to impact global markets. Widespread selling across the board today saw all of the sectors retreat. Industrials and Energy weighed heaviest on the market – both losing over 13 per cent. The Australian Federal government is working on a second coronavirus economic support package that it says could be rolled out within days. This follows the $17.6 billion package unveiled last week. All of this, as a growing list of central banks around the world announce emergency policy measures. The US Federal Reserve announced yesterday that it would drop interest rates to zero and buy at least US$700 billion in government and mortgage-related bonds. Today, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand cut interest rates by 75 basis points. The Bank of Israel has also announced its intention to purchase government bonds of various types and maturities in the secondary market.
The S&P/ASX200 index
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 537 points lower to finish at 5,002..
Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 1041 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a loss of 128 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a fall of 360 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 549 point or 9.8 per cents fall tomorrow morning.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released figures on overseas arrivals and departures for January this year. January saw arrivals increase 1.6 per cent compared to the previous year. Overseas visitor arrivals to Australia rose 0.1 per cent (trend terms) month on month and Australian residents returning from overseas increased 0.4 per cent (trend terns) month on month
Ord Minnett has upgraded JB Hi Fi (ASX:JBH) from a hold to an accumulate, with a 12 month price target of $38.00. The broker considers the valuation attractive following the decline in the share price and believes the stock is the best positioned among its peers. Shares in JB Hi Fi (ASX:JBH) closed nearly 10 per cent lower today at 30.19.
West African gold-focused exploration and development company, Cardinal Resources (ASX:CDV) has received a notification from Nord Gold that it has now acquired 19.9 per cent of the shares in Cardinal. This includes the 16.4 per cent stake previously owned by Goldfields. Nordgold has signalled that a further acquisition may be in the pipeline. It would like to provide a non-binding indicative and conditional proposal to acquire all of the issued capital of Cardinal that it does not already own for 0.45775 dollars per share in cash. However, no formal proposal has been received to date. Shares in Cardinal Resources (ASX:CDV) bucked the trend today closing 40 per cent higher at 35 cents.
Out of home advertiser, Oh!media (ASX:OML) today reports that the deteriorating macroeconomic conditions and market uncertainty caused by COVID-19 has made forecasting the full year so difficult that it has withdrawn its 2020 financial year earnings guidance.
Healius (ASX:HLS) has unanimously rejected the takeover proposal from Partners Group.
Collins Foods (ASX:CKF) reports that its KFC restaurants in the Netherlands will not be able to operate as normal after the Dutch government announced a forced closure of all restaurants until the 6th April.
Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) says following consultation with the Victorian Government, its implemented a policy covering a number of social distancing measures at its Crown Melbourne entertainment complex. This includes deactivating every second gaming machine and electronic table game.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector, although it was still in the red was Communications losing nearly 3 per cent while the worst performing sector was Energy, shedding 13.5 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (ASX:FPH), rising 4.2 per cent to close at $25.06. Shares in Telstra Corporation (ASX:TLS) and Domino's Pizza Enterprises (ASX:DMP) followed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was the Star Entertainment Group (ASX:SGR), dropping 23.6 per cent to close at $2.01. Shares in Collins Foods (ASX:CKF) and Webjet (ASX:WEB) followed lower.
Lower: Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has shed 2.6 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.9 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading higher at US$1,541 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 1.1 per cent to US$91.71.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.6 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.56 lower at US$31.17 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 61.65 US cents.