Gold tops US$$2,023: Aus shares close 0.6% lower

Market Reports

by Kathy Skantzos

The Australian share market has been flat all day after dropping at the open. The big banks fell today, while the miners kept afloat. On the commodities front, we’ve seen gold top a record at US$$2,028.

Businesses in Melbourne expressed anger at the Victorian Government at the forced six-week closures for non-essential businesses. Australian Industry Group Chief Executive Innes Willox called the situation in Victoria “a complete mess”, according to the AFR.

The local bourse closed 0.6 per cent lower at the closing bell.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 36 points lower to finish at 6,001.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 65 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a lift of 6 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a rise of 14 points.
And the ASX200 futures are suggesting a dip of 34 points tomorrow morning.

Local economic news

New home loans rose 6.2 per cent in June, according to the latest ABS figures released today. ABS Chief Economist Bruce Hockman said: “The rise in housing loan commitments in June reflects the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in May on auctions, open houses and mobility in general.”

Company news

Virgin Australia (ASX:VAH) announced plans to slim down staff to 6,000 when travel resumes, while cutting about 3,000 jobs to go to new owners Bain Capital. The announcement comes as the airline sees the end of its Tiger airline. Virgin Australia CEO and Managing Director Paul Scurrah said the airline had no choice but to shrink to survive amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Shares in Virgin Australia (ASX:VAH) last traded at 9 cents.

Telstra (ASX:TLS) has entered an agreement to sell its data centre in Clayton, Victoria, to Centuria Industrial REIT (ASX:CIP) for $416.7 million.

One the back of this news, Centuria Industrial REIT’s (ASX:CIP) portfolio increased 30 per cent for FY2020, taking the REIT’s total portfolio value to $1.6 billion.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Materials gaining 0.7 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Health Care losing at 1.7 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL) rising 6 per cent to $2.04, followed by shares in St Barbara (ASX:SBM) and Mesoblast (ASX:ORE).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Omni Bridgeway (ASX:OBL) dropping 4.9 per cent to $4.47, followed by shares in Austal (ASX:ASB) and Monadelphous (ASX:MND).

Asian markets

Mixed: Japan’s Nikkei is tracking 0.2 per cent lower, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$2,023 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 1.6 per cent higher at US$117.88.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.5 per cent.
Light crude is flat at US$41.70.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.78US cents.