Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) board exodus continues: Aus shares set for a flat start


The ASX is set for a flat start after Wall Street retreated in late trade. The pull back in US stocks comes as investors seek to consolidate gains on the back of yesterday’s record highs. Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has warned senators that China is aggressively outpacing the US on infrastructure. The impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump continues today with Senators expected to bear witness to harrowing footage of Trump’s supporters rioting in the Capitol building. Melbourne’s Holiday Inn Covid-19 flare up has risen to 13 people, and a café at Melbourne airport has been listed as an exposure site, sparking concerns that the cluster may have spread across borders. On the commodities front, OPEC has warned that world oil demand in 2021 will rebound more slowly than anticipated prompting OPEC+ to downgrade their output plans.

Reporting season

Earnings reports expected today from Mirvac Group (ASX:MGR), Pro Medicus (ASX:PME), Jumbo Interactive (ASX:JIN) and Baby Bunting Group (ASX:BBN).

International markets

Wall Street closed mixed yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.02 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 0.2 per cent and the NASDAQ closed 0.4 per cent higher.

European markets closed mixed, London’s FTSE added 0.1 per cent, Paris fell 0.02 per cent and Frankfurt closed 0.8 per cent higher.

Asian markets are closed for Chinese New Year celebrations.

Taking all of this into account, the SPI futures are pointing to a flat start, down 0.03 per cent.

Yesterday, the Australian share market closed 0.1 per cent lower at 6,850.

Company news

Another director of Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) has resigned following a damning report from former Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin earlier in the week, which found that the casino giant was not suitable to operate a licence for its new Sydney casino in Barangaroo. An extensive investigation was commissioned by NSW's Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority following allegations that Crown has been infiltrated by organised crime and had facilitated money laundering. Former AFL boss Andrew Demetriou has today resigned from the board of the embattled gaming behemoth. This follows the resignation of two other directors, Michael Johnston and Guy Jalland, on Wednesday. Mr Demetriou was the current chairman of Crown Melbourne and was a member of Crowns’ Risk Management Committee. The report found that he had no formal anti-money laundering training prior to joining Crown's board. The chairman of the gaming regulator, Philip Crawford had warned that Mr Demetriou would need to resign if the company wanted to hold a licence for the Barangaroo casino in the future. Shares in Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) closed 2.45 per cent higher at $10.05 yesterday.

Ex-dividend

Dicker Data (ASX:DDR) is paying 10.5 cents fully franked.
Scentre Group (ASX:SCG) is paying 7 cents unfranked.

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 8:15 AM was buying 77.55 US cents, 56.13 Pence Sterling, 81.21 Yen and 63.93 Euro cents.

Commodities

Gold has lost $16.30 to US$1826 an ounce.
Silver was down $0.03 to US$27.05 an ounce.
Oil was down $0.73 to US$57.95 a barrel.
 

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