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Moderna (NYSE:MRNA) vaccine 94% effective

Equities

Sharemarket to open strongly, Moderna (NYSE:MRNA) vaccine 94% effective, ASX (ASX:ASX) system failure, US markets hit record

The S&P/ASX200 (ASX:XJO) managed just 25 minutes of trade this morning before its new settlement system failed, closing down the market for the day. 

Before the shutdown it was a positive start, the market finished 1.2% higher on the back of a solid global lead with financials and healthcare the biggest contributors. 

  • The shutdown is one of the longest in history and is placing pressure on management of ASX Ltd (ASX: ASX) after a series of technical glitches with regulator ASIC labelling it a ‘significant concern’; not something you would expect from a monopoly service provider. 

    CSL Ltd (ASX:CSL) was one of the early leaders heading 1.8% higher after announcing its intention to build an $800 million vaccine plant at Melbourne Airport, beginning in 2021. 

    The plant will include its standard vaccine production but also the capability to switch capabilities should the country be hit with another pandemic in the future.

    Elder’s (ASX:ELD) retail pivot delivers, BNPL including Afterpay (ASX:APT) under pressure

    Diversified agribusiness retailer and service provider Elders (ASX:ELD) provided a positive trading update, highlighting an 80% increase in profit to $124.2 million and increasing the dividend by close to 40%. 

    Management cited strong and broadening demand for farmland as key contributors with the acquisition of Australian Independent Rural Retailers immediately adding to profits benefiting from the limited lockdown in regional Victoria. 

    Financial services regulator, ASIC, released a long-awaited report into the BNPL sector, raising concerns around the reliance on late fees to generate revenue but falling short of calling for significant change in legislation. 

    The regulator reported a 90% increase in transactions in 2019 with one in five users defaulting on a payment and 1.1 million payments incurring multiple fees. 

    Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) was quick to respond, reporting that just 1 in 100 of its clients have incurred late fees; the IT sector was the only one to fall in the shortened session.

    Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) vaccine success send markets higher, energy and travel sector key winners

    Moderna’s (NASDAQ:MRNA) trial results trumped those of Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) overnight suggesting 94.5% effectiveness for the COVID-19 vaccine; shares jumped 9.6%. 

    The Dow JonesAverage rallied to a record high on the news as the rotation out of COVID winners into ‘value stocks’ continued. 

    As has been the case, the initial moves are tempered throughout the session with the S&P500 and Nasdaq finished 1.2% and 0.6% higher respectively. 

    The clear winner in the last few weeks has been the energy sector, particularly oil, with most related companies moving 10% higher on the hopes of a return to normal travel, shipping and ultimately energy use; this will send the likes of Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) and Oil Search (ASX:OSH) sharply higher today (if the ASX is running). 

    Markets were also boosted by a third straight month of positive retail sales in China, up 4.3% in October the fastest rate in ten months. 

    Interestingly, spending has shifted from stay at home items like furniture (+1.3%) back into cars (12%) and alcohol (15%) suggesting a return to normality is possible. 

    Drew Meredith

    Drew is publisher of the Inside Network's mastheads and a principal adviser at Wattle Partners.


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