Energy sector plummets: Aus shares close 6.4% lower

Market Reports

by Ortenzia Borre

The Australian share market has fallen below the 5000 point barrier this afternoon closing 6.4 per cent lower. Afterpay (ASX:APT) fell 34 per cent, its steepest decline to date and with both EML Payments (ASX:EML) and Southern Cross Media (ASX:SXL) plummeting more than 20 per cent. National Storage REIT (ASX:NSR) also fell almost 30 per cent after New York-listed Public Storage pulled its $1.9 billion bid. Energy companies felt the steepest losses but gold shares were up.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 340 points lower to finish at 4953.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of almost 600 points.
S&P 500 futures are also eyeing a fall of 92 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a fall of 325 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a further fall of 334 points tomorrow morning.

Company news

Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) has accelerated its urgent business review to identify further cost and cash saving initiatives. The company said due to recent events, including unprecedented government-imposed restrictions on international travel, and major reductions in airline capacity the travel group will be significantly impacted. As part of the review, Flight Centre will hold further discussions with stakeholders including landlords, suppliers, vendors, insurers, and banks on ways to manage the financial impact of a precipitous drop in travel activity in the near-term. The company has also initiated talks with the Federal Government to discuss broader industry assistance packages. Shares in Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) closed 4.8 per cent lower $14.80.

Looking at some more headlines:

Collins Foods’ (ASX:CKF) KFC have closed all in-dining room areas across the country in an effort to follow recent social distancing advice amid the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Virgin Australia (ASX:VAH) will suspend all international flying for a period of two and a half months in response to the new travel restrictions announced by Government.

Cochlear (ASX:COH) loses US$268 million US appeal.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Utilities, also the only sector in the green, adding 2.2 per cent while the worst performing sector was Energy, shedding 10.6 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Collins Foods (ASX:CKF), rising 15 per cent to close at $4.98. Shares in St Barbara (ASX:SBM) and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) followed.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Afterpay (ASX:APT), dropping 33.1 per cent to close at $12.76. Shares in National Storage REIT (ASX:NSR) and EML Payments (ASX:EML) followed lower.

Asian markets

Mixed: Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.8 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has added 0.9 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,529 an ounce. 
Iron ore price has added 0.4 per cent to US$91.20.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 3.2 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.07 down at US$26.88 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 60.24 US cents.