Job vacancies down in the year to Feb, before COVID-19: ASX tracking 2.9% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market dropped at the open and is now tracking 2.9 per cent lower at noon. Webjet (ASX:WEB)  successfully completed their $115 million institutional placement today. Shares in IDP Education (ASX:IEL) also rose. Shares in Harvey Norman Holdings (ASX:HVN) declined. All the sectors are in the red with Financials losing 5.2 per cent.

The S&P/ASX 200 index

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 151 points up at 5,108. On the futures market the SPI is 113 points lower.

Local economic news

The number of job vacancies in Australia decreased by 1.8 per cent over the year to February 2020, despite a small quarterly increase of 0.2 per cent, according to new trend figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Broker moves

UBS rates AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) as an Upgrade to a Neutral from a Sell.
They believe the share price is now at fair value. The broker considers the balance sheet enviable along with the dividend yield. The fundamental concern is that the stock is over-exposed to falling wholesale electricity prices while securing value-accretive growth is challenged. Target is reduced to $18.00 from $18.80. Shares in AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) are currently 1.6 per cent lower at $17.28.

Company news

Atlas Arteria (ASX:ALX) is pleased to announce that APRR has successfully priced €500 million of bonds under its Euro Medium Term Note Programme.That’s around $900 million in Australian dollars. The Bonds have a term of around 7 years and will mature on 14 January 2027, a year in which APRR currently has only €506m of existing maturities. Following the completion of this transaction, APRR will have €3.2bn in liquidity against €1.0bn of outstanding Commercial Paper due to be refinanced in 2020 and €0.76bn of debt maturing in 2021. Shares in Atlas Arteria (ASX:ALX) are currently 3.3 per cent lower at $5.51.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy losing the least 0.3 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Financials losing 5.2 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is IDP Education (ASX:IEL) rising 26 per cent to $14.57, followed by shares in Webjet (ASX:WEB).
And Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Challenger (ASX:CGF) dropping 9.4 per cent to $4.13, followed by shares in Magellan (ASX:MFG) and Harvey Norman Holdings (ASX:HVN).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,586 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 1 per cent down at US$82.49.
Iron ore futures are suggesting a fall of 2.6. per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 60.87US cents.