The Australian share market opened higher this morning and is now trading 2.31 per cent up at noon. The big banks are continuing to rally. Nearmap (ASX:NEA) is leading the top 200 gains at midday, up over 16 per cent with Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) coming in last.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 133 points up at 5,908. On the futures market the SPI is 146 points up.
Local economic news
COVID-19 has forced 70 per cent of Australian businesses to change how they operate, according to results from the fourth Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) survey on Business Impacts of COVID-19. ABS Head of Industry Statistics John Shepherd said that the survey also showed that seven in ten businesses (72%) had a decrease in revenue as a result of COVID-19. The survey also found that almost three quarters of businesses accessed support measures as a result of COVID-19. This included accessing wage subsidies (55%) and other government support measures (38%). Looking ahead, government restrictions are expected to continue to have an effect, with businesses reporting they expect some level of impact from social distancing measures (71%), restrictions on trading (63%) and travel restrictions (50%) in the next two months.
Blackmores (ASX:BKL) has completed its $92m institutional placement of approximately 1.3 million new fully paid ordinary shares. At a price of $72.50 per new share, the company says the placement generated significant interest from Blackmores’ existing shareholders and other investors. Proceeds of the placement will be used to accelerate growth in Asia, invest in efficiency program and position the balance sheet for strength. Shares in Blackmores (ASX:BKL) are trading 5.44 per cent higher at $83.14 at noon.
Following today’s announcement Morgans has rated the vitamin giant as a Hold. Blackmores (ASX:BKL) announced the equity raising to strengthen its balance sheet and fund growth. The company is on track to deliver its FY20 guidance with net profit between $17-21m although except for the immunity product line, The broker has noted the business has been impacted by slow retail traffic and believes guidance will be achieved mostly from extra cost savings. Morgans expects growth to resume from FY21. The broker reiterates its Hold rating with target price increased to $75 from $70.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Financials, adding 4.4 per cent, while the sector with the fewest gains is Energy, adding 0.2 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Nearmap (ASX:NEA), rising 16.2 per cent to $2.23, followed by shares in Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK) and Credit Corp Group (ASX:CCP).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Beach Energy (ASX:BPT), dropping 4.4 per cent to $1.63, followed by shares in Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (ASX:FPH) and Jumbo Interactive (ASX:JIN).
Asian markets: higher
The Nikkei has gained 2.1 per cent, the Hang Seng has gained 0.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is 0.6 per cent higher.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,714 an ounce.
Iron ore price is up 0.1 per cent to US$95.37.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 2.1 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 66.27 US cents.