AUD rises to almost pre-coronavirus levels: ASX closes 1.5% higher

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

It has been a positive day of trade for the Australian share market the local bourse managed to close 1.5 per cent higher. 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 despite growing supermarket sales in the March quarter. More on this later. The Energy sector jumped up today with Consumer Staples coming in last on the bunch. The Australian dollar saw a rally today.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 80 points higher to finish at 5,393.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 247 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 27 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a lift of 103 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 55 point rise tomorrow morning.

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).

Company news

Dicker Data (ASX:DDR) released their first quarter 2020 results today showing net profit climbed 36.3 per cent to $18.4 million. Total revenue for the quarter was $463.9 million, up $19.9 per cent. The group attributed the strong result to greater demand for IT hardware as millions of people moved to work from home during the COVID-19 crisis. It will pay a 7.5 cents per share quarterly dividend. Shares in Dicker Data (ASX:DDR) closed 6.4 per cent higher at $6.86.

Coles (ASX:COL) supermarket sales have soared in the third quarter. They performed strongly in January and February prior to the impact of COVID-19, and achieved comparable sales growth of 13.1 per cent for the third quarter, its 50th consecutive quarter of comparable sales growth.

The Malaysian government has extended the Movement Control Order to 12 May 2020, delaying the restart of Lynas Corporation’s (ASX:LYC) Malaysia plant. Lynas Malaysia has already applied for approval to restart operations.

Biotech company Immutep (ASX:IMM) has today successfully completed a $12 million placement to professional, institutional and sophisticated investors. The Company will use the proceeds received from the Placement to finance its LAG-3 related clinical program in immuno-oncology and autoimmune disease.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Energy adding 5.2 per cent while the worst performing sector was Consumer Staples, shedding 1.8 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Crown Resouts (ASX:CWN) rising 10.9 per cent to $9.54, followed by shares in Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) and Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Avita Medical (ASX:AVH), dropping 5.4 per cent to close at $0.43. Shares in Fischer and Paykel (ASX:RSG) and Coles Group (ASX:COL) followed lower.

Asian markets

Mostly higher: Japan’s Nikkei is closed due to a public holiday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is flat and the Shanghai Composite has is tracking 0.2 per cent lower.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,710 an ounce.
Iron ore price lost 1.5 per cent at US$82.20.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.7 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.35 up at US$17.95 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 65.33 US cents.