Banks respond to COVID-19: Aus shares close 0.7% higher

Market Reports

by Ortenzia Borre

In breaking news this afternoon, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has addressed the nation, announcing that the budget will not be handed down until October 6 due to the current financial crisis.

The Australian share market was in positive territory for the day closing 0.7 per cent higher. During the day’s trade, Afterpay (ASX:APT) surged 60 per cent and CIMIC (ASX:CIM) Group soared almost 50 per cent.

Our Aussie dollar is also slowly crawling back, hitting US58.55 cents. 

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 34 points up to finish at 4,817.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 70 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a steady start.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a rise of 21 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 59 point rise Monday morning.

Company news

Big banks ANZ (ASX:ANZ), Westpac (ASX:WBC) and NAB (ASX:NAB) have all just announced major COVID-19 support packages for their customers. ANZ, the first to announce a cut to the standard variable rate, said it will include six-month repayment deferrals for impacted small and medium business customers as well as its home loan customers. Westpac will provide a 200 basis point reduction on overdrafts for new and existing business customers as well as three months deferral on home loan mortgages, and NAB will also defer principal and interest for up to six months on business loans as well as pausing home loan repayments for up to six months.

Looking at some more headlines:

Brickworks (ASX:BKW) is to close five of their 12 plants currently in operation in Pennsylvania after the Governor ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close.

Telstra (ASX:TLS) announces a $500M COVID-19 response plan, employing 1000 temporary contractors to help manage call centre volumes and suspending late fees and disconnections for small business and consumer customers.

After consultation with our franchisees in France, Domino’s Pizza Enterprises (ASX:DMP) has made the decision to close all stores in the country for a period of 15 days – effective immediately.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Real Estate Investment Trust adding 8.9 per cent while the worst performing sector was Health Care, shedding 5.3 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM), rising 51.1 per cent to close at $19.65. Shares in Pendal Group (ASX:PDL) and Afterpay (ASX:APT) followed.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL), dropping 12.6 per cent to close at $21.67. Shares in Southern Cross Media (ASX:SXL) and Resmed (ASX:RMD) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei is closed, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 3.1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has also added 0.6 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,486 an ounce. 
Iron ore price has lost 0.4 per cent at US$91.36.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.7 per cent.
Light crude is US$1.11 up at US$26.33 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 58.55 US cents.