PM's shutdown mandate rocks market: Aus shares 8.2% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Katrina Bullock

The Australian share market is set to extend this month’s losses. It opened lower following negative leads from Wall Street overnight as the Democrats blocked President Donald Trump’s 1.8 trillion-dollar stimulus plan. The Australian market has tumbled 8.2 per cent over the morning as investors come to terms with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement that from midday today, tough new ‘stage one’ restrictions are in place which will result in the closure of licenced venues, gyms, cinemas, casinos and religious gatherings. Restaurants and cafes are now restricted to takeaway and home delivery. The restrictions will be reviewed on a monthly basis. The REITs, Consumer Discretionary and Financial sectors have each lost over 9 per cent this morning and the price of oil continues to plunge.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 397 points down at 4,420. On the futures market the SPI is pointing to a further fall of 8.3 per cent.

Company news

The sinking oil price is having widespread impacts on the market. So much so, that Freedom Oil and Gas (ASX:FDM) has entered voluntary administration. The company has today announced the appointment of administrators and blames the current oil price environment combined with COVID-19’s impact on the global equity markets. The company says it “has been working closely with its primary lender Wells Fargo and preferred equity holder, Ramas Capital Management, over the past few months. However, these factors impacted the company’s opportunities to recapitalise.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Materials, with the fewest losses at 5.1 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Financials, shedding nearly 11 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX:SAR), rising 3.7 per cent to $3.08, followed by shares in Newcrest (ASX:NCM) and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Southern Cross Media Group (ASX:SXL), tanking 36.7 per cent to 15 cents, followed by shares in Afterpay Touch Group (ASX:APT) and Credit Corp Group (ASX:CCP).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at nearly US$1,490 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 3.7 per cent to US$87.98.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a further fall of 5 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 57.09 US cents.