Despite positive international leads coming into the session, the Australian share market opened lower and is off to a rocky start. ABS data released today shows the extreme impact of the covid shutdown on international travel. Iron ore and gold are both trading higher.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.24 per cent or 14 points lower at 5,834. On the futures market the SPI is eyeing a rise of 22 points.
Local economic news
The impact of government’s travel restrictions is evident in today's tourism figures. According to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today Australia has recorded its largest ever decrease in overseas travel in April with the number of Australians returning home after a short-term trip down over 98 per cent on the same time last year. Short-term visitor arrivals fell 99.7 per cent compares to April 2019.
Citi rates Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) as a buy, with a 12 month price target of $68.75. The broker believes the RBA has postponed the first credit event which was set to take place in March to later in the calendar year, and notes that market dynamics post lockdowns are likely to benefit major banks over their smaller and regional competitors. Shares in Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) are trading 0.3 per cent higher at $67.52.
Archer Materials (ASX:AXE) has reached a significant technological milestone in progressing its quantum computing chip. The company, which specliases in quantum computing, biotechnology, and lithium-ion batteries is one of few companies globally that provides investors a direct, on-market opportunity to invest in quantum computing technology. The company says that “state-of-art measurement confirms room-temperature conductivity of a single qubit component” and that this represents “a global competitive advantage in the multibillion-dollar quantum computing industry”. Shares in Archer Materials (ASX:AXE) are trading 7.5 per cent higher at $0.65 at noon.
RedBird Capital Partners is set to acquire a 24.2 per cent interest in Ardent Leisure Group's (ASX:ALG) Main Event Entertainment. Redbird will pay $80 million US dollars to acquire the 24.2 per cent interest and has an option to acquire an additional 26.8 per cent interest at a later date. The company says the transaction “represents Ardent Leisure’s success in securing a partnership with a leading US private investment firm that will enhance Main Event’s liquidity and capacity to invest in future growth while also bringing additional expertise and opportunities to Main Event”. 28 of Main Event’s 44 centres have reopened since the covid lock down. Shares in Ardent Leisure Group (ASX:ALG) are trading 10.2 per cent higher at $0.54 at noon.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Info Tech, adding 1.2 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Consumer Staples, shedding 1.5 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Healius (ASX:HLS), rising 11.9 per cent to $2.83, followed by shares in Boral (ASX:BLD) and New Hope Corporation (ASX:NHC).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Domain Holdings Australia (ASX:DHG),dropping 5.3 per cent to $3.15, followed by shares in Pinnacle Investment Management Group (ASX:PNI) and Independence Group (ASX:IGO).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,734 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 1.2 per cent to US$105.02.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of almost 2 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.33 US cents.