Australia launches inquiry into banks: ASX poised to open lower

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

Australian shares are poised to open lower this morning despite rising optimism about global vaccinations and economic growth. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined a staged exit from coronavirus restrictions that would see a return to work for Brits over the next five months due to their vaccination progress. Back home, an Australian parliamentary committee has launched an inquiry into the impact of changes in the investment policies of banks, superannuation funds and other financial institutions on the country's export industries, such as coal mining. At least a fifth of US oil refining output is still offline due to adverse weather, meanwhile, Saudi crude exports hit an eight-month peak in December 2020.

Local economic news

Australian Bureau of Statistics will release figures for the Labour Force

Markets

Wall Street closed mixed yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.3 per cent higher at 31613, the S&P 500 shed 0.03 per cent to 3931 and the NASDAQ closed almost 0.6 per cent lower at 13966.

European markets closed lower, London’s FTSE lost 0.6 per cent, Paris shed 0.4 per cent and Frankfurt closed 1.1 per cent lower.

Asian markets closed mixed, Tokyo’s Nikkei shed 0.6 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.1 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite remained closed.

Taking all of this into equation, the SPI futures are pointing to a 0.2 per cent fall.

Yesterday, the Australian share market closed 0.5 per cent lower at 6885.

Company News

Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL) today reported a statutory net profit for the half year to 31 December 2020 of $678 million, on revenues of $4.4 billion. EBITDA growth of 89 per cent to $1.3 billion. Significant revenue and earnings rose from Covid-19 testing. More than 18 million Covid-19 PCR tests have been performed to date in 60 Sonic laboratories globally. There is a 2 cent increase on the interim dividend to 36 cents a share. Shares in Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL) closed almost 2 per cent lower at $33.58

Ex-Dividends

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (ASX:BEN) is paying 28 cents fully franked
GPT Group (ASX:GPT) is paying 13.2 cents unfranked
James Hardie Industries (ASX:JHX) is paying 67.9436 cents unfranked
Korvest Ltd (ASX:KOV) is paying 15 cents fully franked
Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) is paying 19.3798 cents fully franked
Zimplats Holding Ltd (ASX:ZIM) is paying 53.7226 cents unfranked

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 7:30 AM was buying 77.51 US cents, 55.93 Pence Sterling, 82.10 Yen and 64.37 Euro cents.

Commodities

Gold has lost $26.50 to US $1773 an ounce.
Silver was up $0.07 to US $27.39 an ounce.
Oil was down $0.45 to US $56.43 a barrel.

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