Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ) CEO steps down: ASX down 2.2% at noon

Market Reports

by Melissa Darmawan

The Australian share market dropped at the open and continued to fall in mid morning trade. This comes after a fall in European Markets and Wall Street where US major indices suffered their worst session since October. The ASX is now tracking at 2.2 per cent lower or 152 points lower at 6,628. On the futures market the SPI is suggesting a fall of 153 points.

Local economic news

The Australian Bureau of statistics released international trade price index figures for December. The export price index rose 5.5 per cent this quarter and 0.3 per cent throughout the year. While import price index fell 1 per cent and 7.3 per cent throughout the year. The exchange rate had a downward effect on export and import prices this quarter.

Broker call

UBS rates Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) as downgrade to neutral from a buy .Woodside's target price rises to $26.10 but the broker downgrade suggests that the market had adequately priced a decision on their Western Australian Scarborough Project in the second half of 2021. Shares in Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) are currently trading 2.4 per cent lower at $24.95.

Company news

CEO of Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ) and Powershop Australia Jason Stein will step down from his role. Due to the impacts of Covid-19 on travel he has been unable to relocate from New Zealand to Australia. He will continue till mid 2021 to help with the transition for Meridian’s Australian business. Shares in Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ) are currently trading 2.4 per cent lower at $7.00.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector and the only sector in the black is Utilities gaining 0.3 per cent while information technology shed 4.1 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Unibail Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) rising 13.6 per cent to $5.25, followed by shares in Invocare (ASX:IVC) and Treasury Wine (ASX:TWE).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is IOOF Holdings(ASX:IFL) shedding 10.2 per cent to $3.21, followed by shares in ALS (ASX:ALQ) and Kogan (ASX:KGN).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,837 an ounce.
Iron ore has gained 0.9 per cent to US$166.59.
Futures are suggesting a fall of 1.2 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 76.43 US cents.