Retail sales slumped 17.7% in April: ASX tracking 0.4% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market shot up at the open and is now tracking 0.4 per cent higher at noon. Shares in Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) are on the up as shopping restrictions in Europe ease. Shares in Nufarm (ASX:NUF) meanwhile are declining.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 25 points up at 5,966. On the futures market the SPI is 44 points higher.

Local economic news

Australian retail turnover fell 17.7 per cent in April 2020, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) due to Covid-19.

The trade surplus was $8.8 billion compared to consensus expectations for a $7.5 billion surplus. Exports were down 11 per cent in April, while imports were down 10 per cent.

Broker moves

UBS rates Alumina (ASX:AWC) as an Upgrade to a Buy from a Neutral. As restrictions are lifted, prices are expected to lift. UBS envisages a surplus in the aluminium market in 2020 but a balanced alumina market. While alumina prices are now 10 per cent above the mid April lows, rising input costs are likely to further steepen the cost curve. The broker assesses Alumina Ltd is poised to benefit from this through margin expansion.Target price is $2.10. Shares in Alumina (ASX:AWC) are trading 4 per cent higher at $1.71.

Company news

Primewest (ASX:PWG) has acquired an 8.3 per cent strategic interest in Clime Investment Management Limited (ASX:CIW) via an underwritten placement. The proceeds of the placement will be used by Clime to acquire a financial planning group, Madison Financial Group. Climes’ funds under advice will significantly increase as a result of the Transaction and placement. Primewest (ASX:PWG) is one of Australia’s most active and successful property fund managers with over $4 billion of assets under management across all mainland states of Australia and in the west coast of the USA. Shares in Primewest (ASX:PWG) are trading 2 per cent higher at $1.02.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is healthcare gaining 1.4 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Energy losing at 0.9 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) rising 11.4 per cent to $5.46, followed by shares in Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) and McMillan Shakespeare (ASX:MMS).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Nufarm (ASX:NUF) dropping 12.8 per cent to $4.79, followed by shares in Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX:SAR) and SilverLake Resources (ASX:SLR).

Asian markets

Mixed: Japan’s Nikkei has gained 0.3 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.2 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite has lost 0.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,704 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 0.1 per cent lower at US$101.22.
Iron ore futures are suggesting a rise of 2 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 69.01US cents.