The Australian share market opened lower this morning and is now trading 0.6 per cent lower at noon. Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK), is leading the top 200 gains at midday, up over 6 per cent with ALS (ASX:ALQ) coming in last.The S&P/ASX 200 index is 32 points down at 5,353. On the futures market the SPI is 42 points up.
Citi has rated Qantas Airways (ASX:QAN) as a buy. The broker says Qantas has focused on a range of liquidity initiatives in order to withstand the impacts of the shutdown and considers the airline is in an enviable position in global aviation as it does not have to raise equity. Qantas has resolved to get cash burn to -$40m per week by the end of June 2020, a reduction of more than 50% from current levels. The domestic and trans-Tasman routes are considered the viable starting point for a recovery and Qantas could have around 50% share in the latter and almost exclusive share of Australia's east coast, if flying resumes early in FY21. However, Citi cautions investors about extrapolating this into meaningful earnings upside against a backlog of accrued travel credits, weaker sentiment and demand, as well as constraints on load factors from social distancing. Buy/High Risk rating maintained. Target is $3.70. Shares in Qantas Airways (ASX:QAN) are trading 1.4 per cent lower at $3.45 at noon.
Link (ASX:LNK) says areas of its business has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company says areas of its business have been hit by market volatility although has a resilient earnings profile supporting operating cash flow, with approximately 80% of revenue recurring in nature. Link says they have implemented a comprehensive response plan to COVID-19 with their liquidity position supported by cash reserves and committed, undrawn credit facilities. Shares in Link (ASX:LNK) are trading 1.7 per cent lower at $3.54.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector, and the only sector to make gains this morning, is Materials, adding 0.1 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Energy shedding 1.4 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK), rising 6.3 per cent to $1.44, followed by shares in HUB 24 (ASX:HUB) and Netwealth Group (ASX:NWL).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is ALS (ASX:ALQ) dropping 6.7 per cent to $6.30, followed by shares in JB Hi-Fi (ASX:JBH) and Jumbo Interactive (ASX:JIN).
Asian Markets - all lower
Japan's Nikkei lost 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.8 per cent and the Shanghai Composite lost 0.3 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,691 an ounce.
Iron ore price is up 0.4 per cent to US$84.35.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.3 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 64.07 US cents.