Construction work fell in the March quarter: ASX tracking 0.3% lower

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market dropped at the open, pulled back up in mid morning trade and is now tracking 0.3 per cent lower at noon. Financials is the sector leading the way giving the market a boost, healthcare falling behind. Shares in Southern Cross Media Group (ASX:SXL) did well today, Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX:SAR) saw a decline.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 16 points lower at 5,764. On the futures market the SPI is 41 points lower.

Local economic news

The trend estimate for total construction work done fell 1.4 per cent in the March quarter 2020.

Broker moves

Credit Suisse rates Air New Zealand (ASX:AIZ) as a Downgrade to an Underperform from a Neutral. As a result of actions to cut expenditure, Air New Zealand expects its FY21 monthly cash burn to reduce a further -NZ$50-60m, excluding any benefit from passenger revenue. This suggests to Credit Suisse the cash burn reduces to NZ$100 million per month. A labour reduction of -30 per cent has been confirmed. Current Price is $1.24. Shares in Air New Zealand (ASX:AIZ) are currently 3.6 per cent higher at $1.28.

Company news

Challenger Exploration (ASX:CEL) is pleased to report that initial assay results confirm the discovery of large-scale gold system in the Colorado V Project in Ecuador with over 250 metres of bulk gold mineralisation encountered. The mineralisation contains a significant high-grade core of 134 metres at 1.0 grams per tonne g/t gold and 4.1 g/t silver including 63 metres at 1.6 g/t gold and 5.1 g/t silver. Shares in Challenger Exploration (ASX:CEL) are 2.2 per cent higher at $0.23.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Financials gaining 4.8 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Healthcare losing at 4.6 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Southern Cross Media Group (ASX:SXL) rising 22.97 per cent to $0.23, followed by shares in Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK) and Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX:SAR) dropping 9.6 per cent to $5.09, followed by shares in Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) and Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR).

Asian markets

Mixed: Japan’s Nikkei is 0.4 per cent higher. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.3 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite has lost 0.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,712 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 2.4 per cent lower at US$95.28.
Iron ore futures are suggesting a fall of 1.4 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 66.41US cents.

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