Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) Kmart closes stores: Aus shares 0.9 per cent down

Market Reports

by Ortenzia Borre

The Australian share market dropped at the open and continued to fall closing 0.9 per cent down at the end of trade. In breaking news, Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) Kmart has closed its stores in Queensland, NSW and Victoria as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayne Pharma Group (ASX:MYX) led the top 200 gains at for the session up almost 12 per cent on the back of their FDA application, and Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) led the losses for the day.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 50 points lower to finish at 5,416.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 77 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a lift of 20 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a rise of 57 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 41 point fall tomorrow morning.

Local Economic News

The trend monthly hours worked remained unchanged between February and March 2020, according to the latest information released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

The trend unemployment rate remained steady at 5.2 per cent in early March, from a revised February figure.

Broker moves

UBS has rated Telstra (ASX:TLS) as a Buy. Telstra is now offering discounted mobile plans to JobKeeper-eligible customers, among others, but the broker doesn't believe it's best for earnings. UBS analysts also now believe travel bans could extend to the end of 2020, impacting on roaming revenues, and that SME bad debts will inevitably rise. To that end, the broker is now forecasting a cut in the dividend to 14c compared to consensus of 16c. UBS also forecasts a deeper earnings trough in FY21, but has left its $3.70 target and Buy rating intact. Shares in Telstra (ASX:TLS) closed 1 per cent higher at $3.15.

Looking at some more company headlines:

Mayne Pharma (ASX:MYX) submits oral contraceptive FDA approval application.

Virgin Australia (ASX:VIR) suspends trading until a further announcement is made on a rescue plan.

The Star Entertainment Group (ASX:SGR) has secured an additional $200m debt funding facility.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Consumer Staples adding 2.1 per cent while the worst performing sector was Consumer Discretionary shedding 2.1 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Mayne Pharma Group (ASX:MYX), rising 11.6 per cent to close at 39 cents. Shares in The Star Entertainment Group (ASX:SGR) and Ingenia Communities Group (ASX:INA) followed.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD), dropping almost 16 per cent to close at $9.21 cents. Shares in Flight Centre Travel Group (ASX:FLT) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WCH) followed lower.

Asian markets

Are mixed: Japan’s Nikkei has lost 1.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng also lost 0.7 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is just up at 0.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,721 an ounce.
Iron ore price lost 0.2 per cent to US$86.86.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.3 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.51 up at US$26.55 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 62.88 US cents.