AngloGold Ashanti (ASX:AGG) suffers 4 fatalities in Q1: Aus shares close 1.3% higher

Market Reports

by Katrina Bullock

The Australian market rose today as state and territory leaders clarified plans to reopen the economy in their jurisdictions. It ended the day 1.3 per cent higher. The Energy sector was up just over 2 per cent after the oil price showed signs of recovery.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 70 points higher to finish at 5,461.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 20 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 3 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a lift of 19 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 60 point rise tomorrow morning.

Broker moves

Credit Suisse rates News Corp (ASX:NWS) as an outperform with a 12 month price target of $22.60. The broker says the company’s EBITDA was ahead of its estimates in the third quarter. While advertising revenue at Dow Jones declined more than 20 per cent in April, Credit Suisse pointed out this was significantly better than its peers. Shares in News Corp (ASX:NWS) are trading 5.4 per cent higher at $17.25.

Company news

The world’s third largest gold mining company, AngloGold Ashanti (ASX:AGG) recorded a solid operational and financial start to 2020 but with a high human toll. Sadly, there were four fatalities in the first quarter of the year which occurred in two separate safety incidents in March. In its quarterly update for the period ended 31 March 2020, the company’s EBITDA was up 54 per cent year-on-year to $473 million. Production for the first quarter of 2020 was 716,000 ounces at a total cash cost of $814 per ounce. Total capital expenditure increased by 41 per cent for the quarter year-on-year to $199 million. Covid impacted the production of around 11,000 ounces for the quarter. The company says “plans are [now] in place to ensure business continuity under a range of scenarios”. Shares in AngloGold Ashanti (ASX:AGG) are trading flat at $8.27.

Z Energy (ASX:ZEL) reported a net loss after tax of $88 million New Zealand dollars for the year ending 31 March 2020. This followed a profit of $186 million for the previous corresponding period.

Implantable hearing device provider Cochlear (ASX:COH) reports that sales revenue across the business declined by around 60 per cent in April year on year.

Suncorp Group (ASX:SUN) today released its quarterly update as at 31 March 2020. The company expects a collective provision of $133 million due to the impact of covid-19. It also identified potential incorrect payments to some employees and expects remediation costs to total between $40 and $70 million.

Advanced Nanotek (ASX:ANO) has released impressive guidance in anticipation of its 2020 financial year results. It expects net profit before tax to be around $8.4 million – that’s a 250 per cent increase on its FY2019 result.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Real Estate Investment Trusts adding 2.7 per cent while the worst performing sector was Consumer Staples, gaining 0.2 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Webjet (ASX:WEB), rising 19.5 per cent to close at $3.50. Shares in Southern Cross Media Group (ASX:SXL) and NRW Holdings (ASX:NWH) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Graincorp (ASX:GNC), dropping 4.2 per cent to close at $3.45. Shares in CSR (ASX:CSR) and Challenger (ASX:CGF) followed lower.

Asian markets

Mixed: Japan’s Nikkei has added 1.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 1.4 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.2 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,704 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 0.5 per cent to US$88.60.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.6 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.64 lower at US$25.53 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 65.44 US cents.