Stage 2 tax cuts expected from tonight's budget: ASX closes 0.4% higher

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

After a struggle in mid morning trade, the Australian share market managed to close 0.4 per cent higher. Shares soared for both Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) and Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX:SAR) after they announced a merger. More on this later. Shares in Nanosonics (ASX:NAN) dropped over 4 per cent today. As for the sectors today Energy ended the day on a high and Healthcare fell lower.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 21 points higher to finish at 5,962.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 45 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 0.25 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a dip of 24 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 18 point rise tomorrow morning.

Local economic news

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is preparing to hand down the 2020-21 Federal Budget later this evening.

The Reserve Bank of Australia has kept its rates on hold at 0.25 per cent. Its yield target on the 3-year bond also remains at 0.25 per cent.

Company news

MyFiziq (ASX:MYQ) has signed a significant binding term sheet with Nexus Vita, a Singapore-based health monitoring and management technology company. Nexus-Vita has created an application for individuals to track and manage all facets of their medical and health records. The data spans multiple environments from wearable data to training, nutrition, care programs, and allows the sharing of them with their doctor, healthcare provider, personal trainer or chronic disease management specialist. Under the agreement, Nexus -Vita has given a minimum revenue guarantee to MyFiziq of almost $5 million per annum. Shares in MyFiziq (ASX:MYQ) closed flat at $1.32.

Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) and Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX:SAR) have agreed to a merger-of-equals to create a top-10 global gold miner. The merger plans to unlock geographic, operational and strategic synergies creating a $16 billion pro-forma market capitalisation.

BHP (ASX:BHP) has signed to acquire an additional 28 per cent working interest in Shenzi, a six-lease development in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. BHP and Hess have agreed to a purchase price of $701 million.

The Star Entertainment Group (ASX:SGR) with their debt providers have agreed to a full waiver of its gearing and interest cover ratio covenants. The Star Sydney is eligible for JobKeeper phase 2 but The Star Queensland will not be eligible.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Energy closed 2.3 per cent higher while the worst performing sector was Healthcare, closed 0.8 per cent lower.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST), rising 10.6 per cent to close at $15.29. Shares in Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX:SAR) and Westgold Resources (ASX:WGX) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Nanosonics (ASX:NAN), dropping 4.7 per cent to close at $5.48. Shares in Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) and ALS (ASX:ALQ) followed lower.

Asian markets

Higher: Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 0.8 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is closed.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,911 an ounce.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 4.99 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.12 higher at US$39.62 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.81US cents.