The Australian share market opened slightly higher this morning before falling and is now trading 0.1 per cent lower at noon. In breaking news, the Federal Government has announced $95 million in funding to support zoos, aquariums and animal sanctuaries - no doubt a welcome relief for our furry friends and their care takers following this years' earlier bush fire tragedy. As it stands, there are currently over 3 million confirmed cases of COVID -19 worldwide. Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD), is leading the top 200 gains at midday, with Mayne Pharma (ASX:MYX) coming in last.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 6 points lower at 5,315. On the futures market the SPI is 3 points down.
Local economic news
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has reported more than 7.5 million people living in Australia in 2019 were born overseas, with those born in England continuing to be the largest group, according to new data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The ABS has also reported that the total Government revenue exceeded expenses by $17,300m.
Morgans has upgraded rates Domain Holdings Australia (ASX:DHG) to a Hold from Reduce. The broker notes, Domain Holdings is preparing for a tougher environment and moving to a second round of cost reductions and increasing credit lines. The company's print publications were suspended two weeks ago and will likely remain so until at least September. Digital performed well in March, but from thereon the the outlook is unclear. The broker has cut its target to $2.46 from $2.54 believing investors will have a chance to buy in at a lower level ahead. Shares in Domain Holdings Australia (ASX:DHG) are trading 1.2 per cent lower at $2.52.
Worley (ASX:WOR) says its impact from COVID-19 has been limited, seen mainly on its lower margin construction related activities as part of its field-based services.
The company said the acquisitions of AFW UK and Jacobs ECR mean the company had a reduced exposure to both oil and gas, and general capital expenditure, allowing it to weather a weaker oil market. They say the economic outlook and their customers’ responses are difficult to predict and they are preparing for a range of scenarios. Worley have added new debt facilities of $465 million, strengthening their liquidity position. Share in Worley (ASX:WOR) are trading 0.9 per cent lower at $6.94.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Consumer Discrectionary, adding 1.3 per cent, while the worst performing sector this morning is Energy shedding 1.1 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD), rising 8.9 per cent to $9.95, followed by shares in Perenti Global (ASX:PRN) and Ooh! Media(ASX:OML).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Mayne Pharma Group (ASX:MYX), dropping almost 6.3 per cent to 37 cents, followed by shares in Charter Hall Retail (ASX:CQR) and St Barbara (ASX:SBM).
Japan's Nikkei is down 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng is down 0.1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is down 0.6 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,703 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 1.2 per cent to US$83.48.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.6 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 64.38 US cents.