US Senate passes the $US2 trillion stimulus package: ASX closes 2.3% higher

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

It has been a positive day of trade for the Australian share market the local bourse managed to close 2.3 per cent higher. Shares in Northern Star Resources are down over 15 per cent today after they estimated disruptions will result in March quarter production being 10-15 per cent lower than expected and given the uncertain outlook, they can provide no assurances about production levels in the June quarter. As for the sectors today Infotech led the day and Materials fell lower.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 115 points higher to finish at 5,113..

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 56 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 17 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a fall of 49 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 23 point rise tomorrow morning.

Local economic news

Total household wealth increased 3.3 per cent in the December quarter 2019 to a record high of $11,309 billion, driven by real (inflation adjusted) holding gains on residential real estate, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). This is the strongest real holding gain on residential real estate since December 2009.

Company news

oOh! Media (ASX:OML) has announced a number of proactive Operational and Capital Structure Initiatives to improve the Company’s financial flexibility and maximise liquidity in light of recent global macroeconomic conditions. They will raise $167 million via a fully-underwritten equity raising. Proceeds will be used to repay debt and fund transaction costs. Shares in oOh! Media (ASX:OML) last traded at 84 cents.

Jewellery store Lovisa (ASX:LOV) has decided today to temporarily shut stores in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Stores in France, Spain, Malaysia, the USA and UK have all been closed over the course of the past week.

Retail group Premier Investments (ASX:PMV) is to temporarily close all retail stores in Australia from 6 pm (local time) today, 26 March 2020, until 9 am (local time) Wednesday 22 April 2020. They support the position of the Prime Minister, the State Premiers and Chief Medical Officers that all Australians must do everything they can to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The Flight Centre Travel Group (ASX:FLT) is to stand down around 6,000 support and sales roles either temporarily or permanently, including 3,800 people in Australia.

Best and worst performers 

The best performing sector was Infotech adding 7.4 per cent while the worst performing sector was Materials had the fewest gains at 0.2 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was EML Payments (ASX:EML), rising 32.9 per cent to close at $1.92. Shares in AfterPay Touch Group (ASX:APT) and Bapcor (ASX:BAP) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST), dropping 15 per cent to close at $11.47. Shares in Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) followed lower.

Asian markets

Lower: Japan’s Nikkei has lost 3.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.5 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.3 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,606 an ounce.
Iron ore price is up 4 per cent at US$87.34.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.2 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.13 up at US$33.56 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 59.26 US cents.