Materials lift local bourse as travel stocks head south on COVID-19 resurgence: ASX closes 0.03% higher

Market Reports

by Anna Napoli

The local share market opened lower this morning, picked up pace at lunchtime and then pared gains in late trade to end the session ever so slightly higher by 0.03 per cent at 5945. The materials sector was the standout performer today thanks to gains from the major miners. Gold stocks outperformed with Saracen Minerals rising 5 per cent, Northern Star Resources and Evolution Mining also ended the session higher. An afternoon lift in US futures also helped to boost the local market towards the close. Travel stocks such as Corporate Travel Management and Flight Centre plummeted as a number of locations including Victoria reported a surge in coronavirus cases. The Industrials sector was the major lag on the market, ending the day 2.3 lower.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 2 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a lift of 5 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a gain of 27 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 38 point fall for Tuesday morning.

Local economic news

RBA Governor Philip Lowe told a panel monetary and fiscal policy needed to do “whatever it takes” to support the economy, as he pushed for more ‘economic dyna-mism’. 

Company news

Virgin Australia’s (ASX:VAH) administrator Deloitte has received final bids for the airline from bidders Bain and Cyrus. A brief statement from Deloitte’s Vaughan Strawbridge said both bidders had indicated they were looking to operate a smaller, single-branded domestic and short-haul international airline that had growth potential.

Employment platform (ASX:SEK) Seek expects to report a loss for the 2020 financial year following a non-cash impairment charge of as much as $230 million. Shares in Seek (ASX:SEK) closed 0.6 per cent higher at $21.81.

Traffic on the nation’s roads appears to be picking up as lockdown restrictions ease. The 57 per cent falls in traffic that Transurban (ASX:TCL) was seeing in April have improved such that traffic was only 21 per cent lower on a year-on-year basis over the last week.

Shares in software company Altium (ASX:ALU) dived by 7.6 per cent today after it again downgraded its revenue outlook. Revenue is expected to be hit by  new lockdowns in China and an increase in COVID-19 cases in parts of the US.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was materials, gaining 1.7 per cent, while the worst-performing sector was industrials, shedding 2.3 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Austal (ASX:ASB), rising 9.5 per cent to close at $3.68. Shares in Saracen Mineral holdings (ASX:SAR) and James Hardie (ASX:JHX) followed.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Mesoblast (ASX:MSB), dropping 10.6 per cent to $3.70, followed by shares in Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) and Altium (ASX:ALU).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has shed 0.1 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has dropped 0.9 per cent.
And the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,752 an ounce.
The iron ore price is flat at US$102.42.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 1.8 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.19 lowerat US$40 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.58 US cents.