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Australian retail rises 0.5 per cent: Aus shares flat at 0.04% at noon

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The Australian share market opened higher this morning following strong leads from the Energy sector and is now trading flat at 0.04 per cent. Oil Search (ASX:EML) is leading the top 200 gains at midday, up over 10 per cent, with JB Hi-Fi (ASX:JBH) coming in last. The S&P/ASX 200 index is 2 points up at 5,156. On the futures market the SPI is 6 points up. Local economic news : Australian retail turnover rose 0.5 per cent in February 2020 according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade figures. Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys, Ben James, said retailers reported a range of impacts from the COVID-19 crisis in February with increases in food retailing slightly offset by falls in more discretionary spending. There were rises for food retailing (0.8 per cent), department stores (3.1 per cent), household goods retailing (0.7 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.2 per cent), and other retailing (0.2 per cent). These rises were partially offset by a fall in clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-2.9 per cent), The increase in food retailing sales is supported by additional analysis conducted by the ABS to enhance the understanding of the economic impacts of COVID-19, which showed significant rises in supermarket purchases in February 2020, especially around essential grocery items. Broker moves : Morgans has rated Adelaide Brighton (ASX:ABC) as an Add. The company has withdrawn its earnings guidance because of the uncertain duration and impact of the COVID-19 crisis although the building materials company is continuing to progress with cost reductions, and capital expenditure plans are being reviewed. The final 2019 dividend is also still expected to be paid on April 28. The broker continues to believe 2020 will be a cyclical low point in the earnings cycle and demand from mining and infrastructure markets will support a return to earnings growth in 2021. Add rating maintained. Target is reduced t...
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