RBA confirms severe economic downturn: Aus shares close 0.8% higher

Market Reports

by Ortenzia Borre

The Australian share market rose at the open and closed 0.8 per cent higher.

Monadelphous Group (ASX:MND) led the top 200 gains for the session, with Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE) leading the losses for the day.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 47 points higher to finish at 6,123.

Futures

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 7 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 2 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a lift of 7 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 56 point gain tomorrow morning.

Local economic news

The Reserve Bank of Australia confirmed the economic downturn in Australia was the most severe in many decades, and staff estimates suggested a decline in GDP of around 7 per cent and a contraction in hours worked of around 10 per cent. That’s according to minutes released from the recent meeting.

The report noted the housing market had declined moderately in Sydney, Perth and Brisbane, and more in Melbourne.

Discussing the global economy, the Board noted that new COVID-19 cases had increased significantly over the preceding month. Case numbers were high in the United States and in several large emerging market economies.

They reaffirmed the elements of the policy package announced on 19 March 2020, namely:

• a target for the cash rate of 0.25 per cent
• a target of 0.25 per cent for the yield on 3-year Australian Government bonds
• the Term Funding Facility to support credit to businesses, particularly small and medium-sized businesses
• an interest rate of 10 basis points on Exchange Settlement balances held by financial institutions at the Bank.

Company news

Westpac (ASX:WBC) declares no first-half dividend will be paid.

Cochlear (ASX:COH) posts a $238 million loss, despite units growing 13 per cent in the first half.

BHP (ASX:BHP) is looking to divest two of its Queensland metallurgical coal mines and simplify its portfolio to focus on higher quality steel-making products.

Operations at Evolution Mining’s (ASX:EVN) Red Lake gold mine in Canada have resumed following the evacuation of the region due to a forest fire.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Health Care, adding 4.2 per cent, while the worst performing sector was Consumer Staples, shedding 0.9 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Monadelphous Group (ASX:MND), rising 18.9 per cent to close at $10.05. Shares in Megaport (ASX:MP1) and Cochlear (ASX:COH) followed.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE), dropping 14.3 per cent to close at $10.58. Shares in Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) and Viva Energy Group (ASX:VEA) followed.

Asian markets

Mixed. Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has also lost 0.1 per cent, while the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.2 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,997 an ounce.
The iron ore price lost 0.4 per cent to US$121.94.
Its futures are pointing to a rise of 2.8 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.14 down at US$42.75 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.23 US cents.

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