24% of Australians are working less hours due to COVID-19: ASX tracking 1.3% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market dropped at the open and has continued to fall throughout mid morning trade. It is now tracking almost 1.3 per cent lower at noon. Shares in Caltex Australia (ASX:CTX) dropped after and Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. decided to not proceed with the acquisition proposal due to the high level of economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. All sectors are in the red.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 72 points down at 5,415. On the futures market the SPI is 61 points lower.

Local economic news

Results from the first ABS Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey show that in the first week of April, around 12 per cent of Australians aged 18 and over with a job were working more hours than usual due to COVID-19, and around 24 per cent were working less hours. The survey found that around 3% of people who had a job in early March no longer had one by early April.

Broker moves

Citi rates cloud services company Livetiles (ASX:LVT) as a downgrade to a Neutral from Buy. They believe a further permanent increase in working from home could accelerate the adoption of the digital workplace solutions over the medium term. Target is reduced to $0.28 from $0.39. Shares in Livetiles (ASX:LVT) are currently 2.2 per cent lower at $0.22.

Company news

Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) and its Joint Venture Partner Otway have issued Ocean Onyx rig operator Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. with a notice of termination for the Ocean Onyx rig contract. The semi-submersible Ocean Onyx rig arrived in Victorian state waters in mid-April for commencement of the Victorian Otway Basin offshore drilling campaign. As the arrival date was later than had been agreed and specified in the rig contract, Beach exercised its right to terminate the agreement. Beach’s preliminary assessment is that offshore drilling is unlikely to commence until FY21, with the exact timing to be agreed as part of any new contracting process. The cancellation of the drilling contract has no impact on Beach’s FY20 production or underlying EBITDA. Shares in Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) are currently 3.97 per cent lower at $1.33.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Consumer Staples with the fewest losses shedding 0.2 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Energy losing at 3.6 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC) rising 3 per cent to $1.19, followed by shares in Domain Holdings (ASX:DHG) and AP Eagers (ASX:APE).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Southern Cross Media (ASX:SXL) dropping 9.7 per cent to $0.14, followed by shares in New Hope Corporation (ASX:NHC) and Caltex Australia (ASX:CTX).

Asian markets

All lower. Nikkei is tracking 1.1 per cent lower, Hong Kong’s Heng Seng is 0.3 per cent lower and China’s Shanghai Composite is almost flat at noon.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,678 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 0.9 per cent higher at US$86.17.
Iron ore futures are suggesting a rise of 1.5 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 63.50US cents.

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