CSL (ASX:CSL) halts Aussie vaccine after false HIV positives: Aus shares to open lower


Aussie shares are set for a dip at the open following a lack lustre finish on Wall Street. Shares in vacation rental online marketplace Airbnb more than doubled after listening on the Nasdaq last night. Travel and entertainment stocks on Wall Street are growing in popularity as investors punt on pent up demand driving rapid recovery in the sectors. This comes as daily Covid related deaths in the country reach a record, climbing above 3,000 just 2 weeks after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Across the pond in Europe, cash strapped countries are rejoicing after EU leaders finally approve the rollout of the coronavirus stimulus package, which will give many nations access to a historic level of funding. Meanwhile, iron ore continues to improve but analysts question whether the price hike truly represents demand and supply fundamentals. The commodity appears to have become a speculative play on how China's economy is going to perform.

Markets

To the figures from around the globe: Wall Street closed mixed yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2 per cent to 29,999 the S&P 500 lost 0.1 per cent to 3668 and the NASDAQ closed 0.5 per cent higher at 12,406.

European markets closed mixed, London’s FTSE gained 0.5 per cent, Paris added 0.1 per cent and Frankfurt closed 0.3 per cent lower.

Asian markets closed mixed, Tokyo’s Nikkei fell 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.4 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite closed 0.04 per cent higher.

Taking all of this into equation, the SPI futures are pointing to a 0.5 per cent fall.

Yesterday, the Australian share market closed 0.7 per cent lower at 6683.

Company news

CSL’s (ASX:CSL) Phase 1 Covid vaccine trial with the University of Queensland will not progress to Phase 2 after the drug caused participants to have “false positive” readings for HIV . They say “the vaccine has shown that it elicits a robust response towards the virus and has a strong safety profile” and “there were no serious adverse events or safety concerns reported in the 216 trial participants”. It is generally agreed that significant changes would need to be made to well-established HIV testing procedures in the healthcare setting to accommodate rollout of this vaccine. Therefore, CSL and the Australian Government have agreed vaccine development will not proceed. Shares in CSL (ASX:CSL) closed 0.94 per cent lower at $301.29 yesterday.

Asaleo Care (ASX:AHY) has received an unsolicited takeover offer. The potential acquirer is the parent of its major shareholder, Essity Aktiebolag. The company was thrown into a trading halt yesterday after its shares jumped over 20 per cent. The company already owns 36.2 per cent of Asaleo through its subsidiary and is offering $1.26 a share to acquire all of the remaining ordinary shares in Asaleo. Shares in Asaleo Care (ASX:AHY) last traded at $1.23 yesterday.


Ex-dividend

United Malt Group (ASX:UMG) is paying 3.9 cents unfranked.

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 8:20 AM was buying 75.38 US cents, 56.72 Pence Sterling, 78.59 Yen and 62.11 Euro cents.

Commodities

Iron Ore has gained 4.3 per cent to US$156.58.
Iron Ore futures suggest 4.4 per cent gain.
Gold has added $0.10 to US$1839 an ounce.
Silver was up $0.13 to US$24.12 an ounce.
Oil was up $1.36 to US$46.88 a barrel.