Business confidence and conditions see huge monthly falls: ASX tracking 0.5% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market had a little dip in early morning trade but then rose within the first hour of trading now tracking almost 0.5 per cent higher at noon. Energy companies have opened mixed following the deal among Opec and other oil producing nations to cut crude production. Gold producers are all up. Information technology led the sectors today with Real Estate Investment Trust coming in last.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 28 points up at 5,416. On the futures market the SPI is 28 points higher.

Local economic news

NAB's business confidence and conditions survey saw business confidence fall to minus 66 index points – its lowest level on record while business conditions fell to -21 index points, which is below levels seen in the GFC.

Broker moves

Citi rates CSL (ASX:CSL) as a Downgrade to a Neutral from a Buy. While CSL is yet to witness an impact from the pandemic on its specialty business, hospitals appear to be increasing stocks of immunoglobulin, plasma collections have dipped in late March. Citi expects the slowdown will be temporary and collections should return to normal around July. Target is raised to $334 from $332. Shares in CSL (ASX:CSL) are currently 0.6 per cent down at $327.12.

Company news

The Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia has today upheld the trial judgment and confirmed Bega Cheese Limited’s (ASX:BGA) right to use the trade dress currently associated with its peanut butter products. US food companies Heinz and Kraft wanted to stop Bega Cheese from using a distinctive type of packaging on the peanut butter products Bega is currently selling. The Federal Court ruled against Heinz and Kraft last year, and this morning dismissed their appeal against that decision, as well as a cross-appeal from Bega Cheese. Shares in Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA) are currently up 3.03 per cent to $4.76.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Information Technology gaining 3.9 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Real Estate Investment Trust losing 2.9 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is South Cross Media (ASX:SXL) rising 36.5 per cent to $0.18, followed by shares in oOh!Media Group (ASX:OML) and AfterPay Touch Group (ASX:APT).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Webjet (ASX:WEB) dropping 8.2 per cent to $2.70, followed by shares in Ingenia Communities Group (ASX:INA) and Charter Hall Group (ASX:CHC).

Asian markets are all higher. Japan’s Nikkei is up 1.8 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.9 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has added 0.7 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,724 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 1 per cent higher at US$85.60.
Iron ore futures are suggesting a rise of 1.3 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 64.24US cents.
 

Rachael Jones

Finance News Network
Rachael comes to FNN after working for Fairfax Media covering international breaking news, including the global economy and politics. She joined FNN in February 2018. She has reported on Australia’s finance news for various organisations since 2000 and has also interviewed a number of key business players, including Bill Gates. Rachael has also worked across a number of countries, including the UK and the US.