China's economy contracts: Aus shares close 1.3% higher

Market Reports

by Katrina Bullock

It’s been a strong finish to the week for the Australian share market, closing 1.3 per cent higher today. As for the sectors, every sector made gains except Consumer Staples. Industrials led the day rising over 4 per cent. China released economic data which showed that its gross domestic product fell 6.8 per cent for the first quarter of 2020. The market was expected a drop, but of only 6.5 per cent. This year on year contraction is the first that the Chinese economy has seen since the early 90s.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 71 points higher to finish at 5,488. Over the week the Australian market gained 100 points or 1.8 per cent.

Futures markets 

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 467 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 40 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing lift of 70 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 56 point rise on Monday morning.

Company news

Gaming major Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) has been the recent subject of market speculation. Citi rates the stock as a Buy, Credit Suisse and Macquarie rate the stock as an Outperform, and Ord Minnett rates it as a hold. This comes as the company reinforces its balance sheet, positioning for an extended closure of casinos. Around 95 per cent of employees have been stood down causing a reduction in cash operating costs. Liquidity has been bolstered by additional debt facilities totalling around $1 billion. Citi, Credit Suisse and Macquarie all based their analysis on a 3 month shut down. Ord Minnett’s more conservative positions reflects its suspects that consumer behaviour after re-opening will be subdued and pre-pandemic earnings will not be experienced until FY23. Shares in Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) closed 1.7 per cent lower at $8.16.

Telstra (ASX:TLS) has announced a €500 million bond.

Bapcor (ASX:BAP) has successfully completed its $180 million institutional placement.

Vista Group International (ASX:VGL) has successfully completed its NZ$25 million placement and the institutional offer component of its entitlement offer.

Shares in Scentre Group (ASX:SCG) rallied after its board and senior leadership agreed to take a 20 per cent pay cut in light of COVID 19.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Industrials adding 4.5 per cent. All other sectors ended in the green, except Consumer Staples which closed almost flat.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Mayne Pharma Group (ASX:MYX), rising 9.1 per cent to close at 42 cents. Shares in Stockland (ASX:SGP) and Estia Health (ASX:EHE) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Coca-Cola Amatil (ASX:CCL), dropping 6.1 per cent to close at $8.63. Shares in Platinum Asset Management (ASX:PTM) and Netwealth Group (ASX:NWL) followed lower.

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei is tracking 3.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 2.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,6936 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 1.7 per cent to US$85.37.
Its futures are pointing to a rise of 1.5 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.92 up at US$26.45 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 63.42 US cents