Following mixed leads from US markets, the Australian share market looks set to open higher this morning. The World Health Organisation says there are 70 COVID-19 vaccines in the works, with three leading candidates already being tested on humans. The US death toll continues to rise with states forming coalitions to plan for coordinated reopenings of economies. President Emmanuel Macron of France extended the nation’s lockdown to May 11. A further 717 people have died from the coronavirus in British hospitals, a slight drop in the number of new deaths reported on Sunday. Oil prices fell yesterday due to oversupply concerns despite OPEC and its allies agreeing to cut production by 9.7 million barrels per day on Sunday. This is the single largest output cut in history. The Australian dollar jumped to 63.8 US cents.
Wall Street closed mixed yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.4 per cent to close 23,391 the S&P 500 lost 1.01 per cent to 2762 and the NASDAQ closed up 0.5 per cent to 8192.
In Asian markets: Tokyo’s Nikkei closed 2.3 per cent lower yesterday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was closed and China’s Shanghai Composite closed down 0.5 per cent.
On Thursday, the Australian share market closed 3.5 per cent higher at 5387.
Local economic news
NAB issues its monthly business survey and the Commonwealth Bank issues its March Household Spending Intentions report.
Roy Morgan and ANZ will release the timely weekly reading of consumer sentiment. Westpac and the Melbourne Institute both issue the April consumer confidence survey. Sentiment hit 5-year lows in March. Also on Wednesday, the ABS issues February tourism and December quarter building and construction activity data.
Thursday, the Melbourne Institute provides an update on consumer inflation expectations for April. And the all-important March labour force survey is issued by the ABS.
New Zealand and Australian childcare and education centre operator Evolve Education Group (ASX:EVO) has been unable to complete the proposed acquisition of five childcare centres in the Australian Capital Territory. These were conditional on satisfactory due diligence and settlement was expected to occur on or about 31 March 2020. Due to several factors including the impact of Covid-19, none of these acquisitions were able to be made and will now not proceed. The centre will however continue to evaluate Australian childcare centre acquisition opportunities as these arise. Shares in Evolve Education Group (ASX:EVO) closed 1.4 per cent higher at 7.5 cents on Thursday.
One Australian Dollar at 8:00 AM was buying 63.80 US cents, 51.03 Pence Sterling, 68.75 Yen and 58.48 Euro cents.
Iron Ore has gained 1 per cent to $85.60
Iron Ore futures are flat.
Gold has dropped $8.60 to US$1761 an ounce.
Silver has fallen $0.50 to US$15.74 an ounce.
Oil was down $0.35 to US$22.41 a barrel.