ASX 200 rises again on Wednesday

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX:XJO) rose again on Wednesday. Meanwhile, South Australia just entered into heavy lockdowns.
The post ASX 200 rises again on Wednesday appeared first on Motley Fool Australia. –

ASX 200

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) went up again today. It rose by 0.5% to 6,531 points.

South Australia goes into lockdown

The South Australian government has announced heavy lockdowns as of midnight tonight for six days to try to get the COVID-19 outbreak under control.

People are restricted from leaving the house for six days, apart from access essential services. South Australians won’t be allowed to leave the home for exercise. Masks will be required in all areas outside the home.

All takeaway food, pubs, cafes restaurants and so on will be shut. Universities will be closed. All schools will be closed except for children of essential workers and vulnerable children. One person per household will be allowed to go grocery shopping once a day.

Many other businesses will be closed during this period including real estate open inspections, construction, weddings, funerals and FIFO work.

However, many essential services will remain open including critical infrastructure (water, power and telecommunications), supermarkets, medical services, public transport, the airport, freight services, petrol stations, certain mining, smelting and large factories, childcare for essential workers, veterinary surgeons and agriculture.

Crown Resorts Ltd (ASX: CWN)

Earlier today, according to reporting by the Australian Financial Review, the major casino business has admitted to a NSW inquiry that it is more probable than not that criminals laundered money through two of its shell bank accounts.

It’s reported that independent reviews had found that cuckoo smurfing had likely occurred in the company’s accounts, which were set up to handle debts owed by VIP gamblers. Cuckoo smurfing is a type of money laundering where innocent parties make and receive legitimate payments but illicit funds are inserted into the process.

Crown Resorts shares then went into a trading halt. The NSW gaming regulator decided to wait until the inquiry into Crown gives its final report in February before allowing gambling at the site. 

The Crown share price was down 0.6% before the trading halt. 

Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX: ALL)

The gambling machine and digital gaming business announced its FY20 result today.

The ASX 200 company reported that its revenue declined by 5.9% to $4.14 billion. Normalised earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell by 31.8%, normalised net profit after tax dropped 52.6% to $357.1 million and normalised earnings per share (EPS) went down by 52.5% to 74.7 cents.

Reported net profit after tax, which includes the recognition of a deferred tax asset worth approximately $1.1 billion, increased 97.2% to $1.38 billion. Operating cash flow decreased by 5.8% to $1.02 billion.

Aristocrat’s total dividend per share was cut by 82.1% to 10 cents per share. However, its closing net debt position improved by 29.5% to $1.57 billion.

The Aristocrat share price rose around 4% today.

A2 Milk Company Ltd (ASX: A2M)

The A2 Milk share price dropped by around 5% today after the business held its annual general meeting (AGM).

The ASX 200 business is maintaining its guidance for the FY21 half year and full year results. It’s still expecting total revenue for the first half of FY21 to be between NZ$725 million to NZ$775 million. FY21 total revenue is expected to be between NZ$1.8 billion to NZ$1.9 billion. The FY21 EBITDA margin is expected to be in the order of 31%.

A2 Milk said that due to the volatility arising from COVID-19 and the difficulties this presents with forecasting, there is uncertainty to this forecast.

The business said that this outlook includes a significant increase in revenue in the second half, which is dependent on a number of key assumptions, including an improvement in the daigou channel and continued growth of the China label business.

But A2 Milk commented that it has observed strong underlying brand health metrics, in particular in China, including market share expansion, and growth of brand awareness and loyalty measures. A2 Milk said that this gives management confidence that, notwithstanding the current headwinds, the fundamentals of the business over the medium term remain sound.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended A2 Milk. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Crown Resorts Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

The post ASX 200 rises again on Wednesday appeared first on Motley Fool Australia.

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