PM rallies foreign leaders over Facebook news ban: ASX poised to open lower

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

Australian shares are poised to open lower this morning after global stocks dropped. Wall Street fell as data pointed to weakness in the labour market. Back home, the Federal Government is today looking to foreign leaders to join its fight against Facebook after they blocked Australian news sites from posting content. Our coronavirus vaccine rollout will officially begin on Monday, with frontline health workers, border and quarantine workers and aged care residents and staff first in line. Elsewhere, Pfizer and BioNTech started an international study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of their vaccines on pregnant women.

Local economic news

ABS reports January retail sales

Markets
 
Wall Street closed lower yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.4 per cent to 31,493, the S&P 500 lost 0.4 per cent to 3914 and the NASDAQ closed 0.7 per cent lower at 13,865.

European markets closed lower, London’s FTSE lost 1.4 per cent, Paris fell 0.7 per cent and Frankfurt closed 0.2 per cent lower.

Asian markets closed mixed, Tokyo’s Nikkei fell 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.6 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite closed 0.6 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 flat at 6886.

Company News

Insurance company QBE (ASX:QBE) today announced a statutory net loss after tax of $1.5 billion, compared with a net profit after tax of $550 million in 2019. They say the headline result is from a disappointing underwriting result, a significant reduction in investment income, impairment of goodwill and deferred tax assets in North America and charges related to rationalisation of legacy IT platforms and their real estate footprint. In light of the substantial 2020 statutory loss, QBE’s board elected not to declare a final dividend. Subject to global economic conditions, the board expects to resume dividend payments – of up to 65 per cent of adjusted cash profits – in conjunction with the 2021 interim result. Shares in QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE) closed 0.46 per cent lower at $8.72 yesterday.

Ex-Dividends

Argo Investments (ASX:ARG) is paying 14 cents fully franked
G.U.D. Holdings (ASX:GUD) is paying 25 cents fully franked
Ingenia Group (ASX:INA) is paying 5 cents unfranked
Rhipe Ltd (ASX:RHP) is paying 1.5 cents fully franked

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 8:15 AM was buying 77.69 US cents, 55.61 Pence Sterling, 82.08 Yen and 64.27 Euro cents.

Commodities

Iron Ore has gained 4.9 per cent to US$175.05.
Iron Ore futures suggest 1.6 per cent gain.
Gold has added $0.60 to US$1773 an ounce.
Silver was down $0.23 to US$27.09 an ounce.
Oil was down $1.11 to US$60.03 a barrel.

Our first investor event for 2021 is Feb 23, 5 companies starting 12:30pm details including registration at the link https://www.finnewsnetwork.com.au/page/investor-events