Falls in Financials lead market lower: ASX closes 2% lower

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market dropped at the open and failed to recover closing 2 per cent lower. Shares in Avita Medical (ASX:AVH) are down - they are a regenerative medicine company looking after medical needs in burns, chronic wounds with therapeutic skin restoration. Webjet (ASX:WEB) shares fell over 26 per cent. Mayne Pharma (ASX:MYX) shares also dropped. As for the sectors today Consumer discretionary led the day and Financials fell lower.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 104 points lower to finish at 5,154.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise 190 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 32 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a lift of 87 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 79 point fall tomorrow morning.

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.

Company news

Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG) today announced that it had taken a number of actions in response to the rapidly deteriorating trading conditions experienced by a large proportion of its domestic franchise network, to slow the spread of COVID-19. Executive Chairman Peter George said the situation is most acute within shopping centres, and is demonstrated by a c.50% reduction in customer count amongst the Company’s Donut King, Gloria Jean’s and Michel’s Patisserie brands whose stores are predominantly situated in the shopping centre environment. Shares in Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG) closed 9.1 per cent lower at $0.04.

Westpac (ASX:WBC) Chairman John McFarlane today announced the appointment of Peter King as Chief Executive Officer. McFarlane says in moments of global stress and uncertainty, management stability and strength are vital.

Webjet (ASX:WEB) has successfully completed its $115 million institutional placement and the institutional component of its 1 for 1 accelerated nonrenounceable pro-rata entitlement offer.
The Institutional Offer raised approximately $231 million from the subscriptions for new fully paid ordinary shares in Webjet at a price of $1.70 per New Share.

Rural Funds Management as responsible entity for the Rural Funds Group (ASX:RFF) has been awarded damages over a Bonitas short sell report.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Consumer Discretionary adding 0.4 per cent while the worst performing sector was Financials, shedding 4.2 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was G8 Education (ASX:GEM), rising 28.6 per cent to close at $1.08. Shares in IDP Education (ASX:IEL) and AP Eagers (ASX:APE) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Mayne Pharma (ASX:MYX), dropping almost 11 per cent to close at $0.33. Shares in Avita Medical (ASX:AVH) and Challenger (ASX:CGF) followed lower.

Asian markets

Mixed: Japan’s Nikkei has lost 1.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.5 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has added 0.2 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,587 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 1% lower at US$82.49
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.4 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.39 up at US$32.53 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 60.88 US cents.