Consumer Price Index rose 0.3% in the March 2020 quarter: ASX 1.1% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market shot up in mid morning trade and is now tracking almost 1.1 per cent higher at noon. Shares in casino operator Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) rose today after US company The Blackstone Group Inc. purchased a 10 per cent stake in the company. Shares in supermarket Coles (ASX:COL) are down over 4 per cent despite growing supermarket sales 13.8 per cent in the March quarter. The Energy sector jumped up today with Consumer Staples coming in last on the bunch.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 57 points up at 5,370. On the futures market the SPI is 56 points higher.

Local economic news

A rise of 0.3 per cent in the March 2020 quarter Consumer Price Index (CPI) reflected the impact of drought and bushfires on some food prices and the early effects of COVID-19, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures.

The most significant price rises in the March 2020 quarter were for food and non-alcoholic beverages (+1.9 per cent), alcohol and tobacco (+1.6 per cent), education (+2.6 per cent) and health (+1.7 per cent).

Broker moves

Citi rates Brickwork’s (ASX:BKW) as Upgrade to a Buy from a Neutral. Citi assesses sales should be well supported through to the December quarter because of solid building approvals up until February 2020. However, housing demand is slowing and this could affect construction in early 2021. Despite the cyclical slowdown in residential demand the dividend is likely to be maintained as cash flow is stable from the property trust and investment income, according to the broker. Target is reduced to $14.20 from $21.00. Shares in Brickwork’s (ASX:BKW) are currently up 4.7 per cent to $12.98.

Company news

The Malaysian government has extended the Movement Control Order to 12 May 2020, delaying the restart of Lynas Corporation’s (ASX:LYC) Malaysia plant. The plant remains in care and maintenance in compliance with the MCO. Lynas Malaysia has already applied for approval to restart operations. They report that products produced at the Lynas Malaysia plant are essential to the manufacturing supply chains for critical industries including automotive, medical devices (including ventilators), oil refining and machinery & equipment. Shares in Lynas Corporation’s (ASX:LYC) are up 0.96 per cent at $1.58.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy gaining 5.1 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Consumer Staples losing at 2.2 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) rising 8.1 per cent to $10.81, followed by shares in Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK) and Crown Resouts (ASX:CWN).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Coles Group (ASX:COL) dropping 4.8 per cent to $15.45, followed by shares in Resmed (ASX:RMD) and Woolworths (ASX:WOW).

Asian markets

Higher: Japan’s Nikkei is closed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.8 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite has added 0.5 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,712 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 1.5 per cent lower at US$82.20
Iron ore futures are suggesting a fall of 0.5 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 65.17US cents.