COVID-19 death toll climbs to over 4,000 in the US: ASX poised to open lower

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

Following a slump on US markets, the Australian share market looks set to open lower. The US death toll rose to over 4,000. The Dow tumbled to near 1000 points. White House officials estimate that the COVID-19 outbreak will kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans this year, even with social distancing, business closures and other mitigation efforts. In Europe, bank stocks were among the worst performers for the day. On the commodities front, oil has added and gold has gained.

Markets
 
Wall Street closed lower yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 4.4 per cent to close 20,944, the S&P 500 fell 4.4 per cent to 2471 and the NASDAQ shed 4.4 per cent to 7361.

European markets closed lower: London’s FTSE fell 3.8 per cent, Paris dropped 4.3 per cent and Frankfurt closed down 3.9 per cent.

Asian markets closed lower: Tokyo’s Nikkei dropped 4.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 2.2 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite closed down 0.6 per cent.

¬Taking all of this into equation, the SPI futures are pointing to a 3.2 per cent fall.

Yesterday, the Australian share market closed 3.6 per cent higher at 5259.

Local economic news 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release backward-looking job vacancies data for the three months to February.

Company news 

Spark Finance (ASX:SPK), a wholly owned subsidiary of Spark New Zealand that carries out the borrowing activities for the Spark New Zealand group, announced today that it has established two new committed revolving bank facilities. NZ$75 million committed revolving facility with Westpac New Zealand and NZ$75 million committed revolving facility with ANZ Bank New Zealand. These Facilities will mature on 2 October 2021 and proceeds will be used for the refinancing of £18 million of 5.75 per cent coupon notes maturing on 6 April 2020; and general corporate purposes. Shares in Spark Finance (ASX:SPK) closed 5.25 per cent higher at $4.21.

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 8:00 AM was buying 60.75 US cents, 49.13 Pence Sterling, 65.09 Yen and 55.42 Euro cents.

Commodities

Iron Ore has dropped 1 per cent to $82.49.
Iron Ore futures suggest a 2.7 per cent fall.
Gold has gained $4.40 to US$1601 an ounce.
Silver has dropped $0.10 to US$14.06 an ounce.
Oil was up $0.85 to US$21.33 a barrel.