The Australian share market rallied in the back half of the session to close 1.5 per cent higher. All of the sectors, except Healthcare made ground today, with investors choosing to pick up bank stocks ahead of the weekend. An uptick in covid-19 cases, has sparked fears of a potential second wave of the virus and led to panic buying at Australia’s major grocery chains. Both Woolworths and Coles stocks rallied today as they reintroduced purchase limits on toilet paper and paper towel across Australia due to the increased demand.
The S&P/ASX200 index
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 86 points higher to finish at 5,904.
Over the week, the market has lost 39 points or 0.7 per cent.
Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 50 points.
S&P 500 futures are flat.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a lift of 2 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 91 point rise on Monday morning.
Credit Suisse rates AMP (ASX:AMP) as an outperform raising its 12-month-price target to $2.05. The broker has increased its estimates for 2020 profit by 6 per cent because of higher equity market assumptions. The broker does not expect any capital management from AMP in 2020 and believes the sale of the life business will lead to additional opportunities to implement changes which will realise value. Shares in AMP (ASX:AMP) are trading 4.8 per cent higher at $1.86.
Mincor Resources (ASX:MCR) has successfully completed its $50 million fully underwritten institutional placement. The company will issue shares at 72 cents per share in 2 separate tranches. The first will raise $17.3 million, with the second raising $32.7 million. Existing shareholder IGO (ASX:IGO) jumped at the offer, snapping up $13.0 million dollars worth of the new shares. Mincor also announced a share purchase plan which aims to raise a further $10 million at the same share price. The company says the proceeds from the Placement will be used to fund early pre-production costs while maintaining strong momentum with resource growth and exploration programs. It says this puts Mincor on a strong path towards the restart of nickel sulphide production in Kambalda. Shares in Mincor Resources (ASX:MCR) closed 7.9 per cent lower at 76 cents.
Qantas Airways (ASX:QAN) has successfully completed its $1.36 billion underwritten institutional placement. This follows yesterday’s bombshell announcement that Qantas (ASX:QAN) will be cutting at least 6000 of its 29,000 workers as the covid travel restrictions continue to weigh on the company.
Spirit Telcom (ASX:ST1) has agreed to acquire VPD Group for approximately $14 million.
Electricity generator and retailer Mercury NZ (ASX:MCY) has reduced its 2020 financial year guidance.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is seeking special leave to appeal to the High Court disputing the decision of the Full Federal Court that Pacific National’s acquisition of the Acacia Ridge terminal from Aurizon (ASX:AZJ) would not be likely to substantially lessen competition. If the ACCC is granted special leave to appeal, this would be the first time the High Court has ever considered Australia’s merger laws. Rail freight operator Aurizon says it will operate the Acacia Ridge terminal as normal while it waits for a ruling from the High Court.
Wrapped up our four trading days this week mixed: The Dow Jones lost 0.5 per cent, The S&P 500 also lost 0.5 per cent and the tech heavy Nasdaq gained 0.7 per cent.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector was Financials, closing 2.7 per cent higher. The worst-performing sector, and the only sector in the red, was Health Care, closing 0.03 per cent lower.
The best-performing stock on the S&P/ASX 200 index was IOOF Holdings (ASX:IFL), closing 8.5 per cent higher at $5.12. It was followed by shares in GUD Holdings (ASX:GUD) and Snadfire Resources (ASX:SFR).
The worst-performing stock on the S&P/ASX 200 index was Qantas Airways (ASX:QAN), closing 9.1 per cent lower at $3.81. It was followed by shares in Orocobre (ASX:ORE) and GWA Group (ASX:GWA).
The Asian markets are mixed. Japan's Nikkei has gained 1.1 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 0.8 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite is closed due to a public holiday.
Gold is trading at US$1761 an ounce.
The iron ore price is flat at $103.34.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 2.1 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.34 higher at US$39.25 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.86 US cents.