Market flatlines amid tougher restrictions: Aus shares close flat

Market Reports

by Kathy Skantzos

After a sharp decline this morning due to a slump in the big banks, the market recovered just before midday lifted by health care and gold producers but and flatlined until the closing bell. The market is unsettled amid stricter restrictions for South Australia announced this afternoon, which comes as more cases emerge, and as Victoria enters a tougher lockdown. 

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed flat to finish at 5,926.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 50 points. 
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a fall of 3 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a rise of 36 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing just a 1-point lift tomorrow morning. 

Local economic news

Manufacturing performance lifted by 2 points to 53.5 points in July, Australian Industry Group (AiG) reported today. The rise was primarily driven by the food and beverage and machinery and equipment sectors, while all other sectors reported difficult trading conditions due to the impact of the pandemic.

Australian housing values continue to drift lower, with CoreLogic’s home value index falling 0.6 per cent in July as the Covid-driven housing downturn moves through a third consecutive month of decline. Melbourne and Sydney saw the largest slide in house prices.

Australian job advertisements are climbing back up, with ANZ’s figures showing a 17 per cent increase for the month of July. However, year on year, job ads are down 34 per cent.

Company news

Magellan Financial Group (ASX:MFG) announced it plans to consolidate its three core global equities trusts – Magellan Global Trust, Magellan Global Equities Fund and Magellan Global Fund – into a single, unified trust worth $15 billion. Shares in Magellan Financial Group (ASX:MFG) closed at 0.3 per cent higher at $61.36.

Engineering company Monadelphous (ASX:MND) received a writ of summons from Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) filed in the Supreme Court of Western Australia for a $493 million claim relating to a fire incident. The company also announced today that its joint venture Zenviron has won an $80 million contract with General Electric to build a wind farm in Victoria.

Tabcorp (ASX:TAH) announced it expects to incur a non-cash goodwill impairment charge of up to $1.1 billion in its 2020 financial year results relating to the company’s Wagering & Media and Gaming Services businesses.

Infigen Energy (ASX:IFN) has seen a 26 per cent drop in revenue in the fourth quarter (Q4), even though the company reported increased production.
 
Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Health Care adding 2.3 per cent while the worst performing sector was Financials, shedding 2.1 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Netwealth (ASX:NWL), rising 5.3 per cent to close at $12.64. Shares in Viva Energy (ASX:VEA) and Ampol (ASX:ALD) followed.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Monadelphous (ASX:MND), dropping 10.3 per cent to close at $7.99. Shares in Credit Corp (ASX:CCP) and NRW Holdings (ASX:NWH) followed lower.

Asian markets

Mixed: Japan’s Nikkei has added 2.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.8 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has added 1.4 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,976 an ounce.
Iron ore price is flat down at US$110.58.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 4 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.28 lower at US$39.99 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.27US cents.