Virgin Australia (ASX:VAH) enters trading halt: Aus shares 2.8% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Ortenzia Borre

The Australian share market opened higher again this morning, continuing to rally for a second day straight following yesterday’s surge and is now trading 2.8 per cent higher at noon. EML Payments (ASX:EML) is leading the top 200 gains at midday, up over 60 per cent, with Unibail-Rodamco Westfield (ASX:URW) coming in last.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 144 points up higher at 5,325. On the futures market the SPI is 129 points up.

Broker moves

Morgans has rated Collins Foods (ASX:CKF) as an Add. The broker says Collins Foods had been seeing a continuation of recent sales trends up to the beginning of March, but KFC Australia sales fell 8% last week, which is a bit more than expected, while KFC Europe is down materially as was anticipated, the broker notes. The broker nevertheless expects sales to bounce back quickly in time. Morgans believes the balance sheet is strong saying the stock has fallen significantly along with all consumer-facing names and the broker sees reasonable risk/reward for patient investors. Add retained, target falls to $7.06 from $8.29. Shares in Collins Foods (ASX:CKF) are trading 4.5 per cent higher at $5.62.

Company news

Virgin Australia (ASX:VAH) has gone into a trading halt pending a further announcement to the ASX. It comes as the airline said it’s seeking financial support from the Federal Government to survive the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis. According to reports, the airline is seeking a rescue package of up to $1.4 billion with the company confirming it is seeking financial help but has not confirmed the amount. The airline says discussions were ongoing. Shares in Virgin Australia (ASX:VAH) last traded at 8 cents.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Financials, adding 5.3 per cent, while the worst performing sector, and the only sector that made losses this morning, is Consumer Staples shedding 2.3 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is EML Payments (ASX:EML), rising 62.5 per cent to $3.03, followed by shares in Credit Corp Group (ASX:CCP) and IOOF (ASX:IFL).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Unibail-Rodamco Westfield (ASX:URW), dropping almost 9 per cent to $4.46, followed by shares in Coles (ASX:COL) and Resolute Mining (ASX:REG).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,617 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 3.9 per cent to US$82.98
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.5 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 61.56 US cents.