RBA Minutes: Market conditions stabilised but remain fragile: ASX tracking 0.7% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market fell lower at the open and struggled to gain momentum and is now tracking 0.7 per cent lower at noon. PolyNovo (ASX:PNV) shares are up after their results from a successful trial. Shares in aerial imaging company Nearmap (ASX:NEA) also did well today. Meanwhile, shares in Metcash (ASX:MTS) declined as did Wisetech Global (ASX:WTC). The Utilities sector is the only sector in the green.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 36 points down at 5,317. On the futures market the SPI is 0.9 per cent lower.

Local economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today released new statistics on jobs and wages showing that between 14 March and 4 April (the three weeks after Australia recorded its 100th confirmed COVID-19 case) jobs decreased by 6.0 per cent. The largest impact of net job losses, in percentage terms, was for people aged under 20, jobs decreased by 9.9 per cent. Tasmania and Victoria had the largest decreases in jobs, down by 7.3 per cent and 6.8 per cent.

The Reserve Bank of Australia released the minutes from their meeting earlier this month. The board noted recent data had suggested the Australian economy had been improving prior to the coronavirus outbreak. They state that responses from fiscal authorities meant financial conditions had stabilised but remained fragile.

Broker moves

UBS has upgraded Centuria Office REIT (ASX:COF) to a Buy from a Neutral. They expect the pandemic will affect Centuria Office less than the broader sector. While earnings guidance has been withdrawn the distribution guidance is maintained.
Target is reduced to $2.50 from $3.02. Shares in Centuria Office REIT (ASX:COF) are currently down 1.56 per cent to $1.89.

Company news

Burns treatment specialist company PolyNovo (ASX:PNV) reports pleasing trial results from burn patients in the US that means their Pivotal Study IDE should be approved by the US FDA in June 2020. PolyNovo’s CEO, Paul Brennan said, “These results are outstanding. Not only has NovoSorb BTM integrated well, the take of the split skin grafts and closure of these. This 12-month clinical study recruited 15 subjects with burns within the range 10 per cent–70 per cent total body surface area (TBSA) across four leading burn centres in the US. Shares in PolyNovo (ASX:PNV) are currently up 4.72 per cent at $2.22.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Utilities gaining 0.3 per cent, while the worst performing sector is A-REITs down at 2.6 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Nearmap (ASX:NEA) rising 8.3 per cent to $1.30, followed by shares in Regis Resources (ASX:RRL) and PolyNovo (ASX:PNV).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Metcash (ASX:MTS) dropping 9.54 per cent to $2.75, followed by shares in G8 Education (ASX:GEM) and Wisetech Global (ASX:WTC).

Asian markets

Lower Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.9 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 1.4 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.7 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,690 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 1.5 per cent higher at US$87.45.
Iron ore futures are suggesting a fall of 1.8 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 63.02US cents.