S&P/ASX 200 Tuesday – everything you need to know

The S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) is expected to trade down today with the Sydney Futures Exchange pointing to a negative open. Right now, the ASX 200 is priced nearly 20% from its 52-week high achieved just last month.

Making investment headlines today are oil shares, such as Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL), as well as Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) and ex-dividend date shares like Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX: SHL) and Lovisa Holdings Ltd (ASX: LOV).

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ASX News Today

Oil prices slump

Over the weekend just gone, global oversupply concerns saw oil prices fall shiftly. Prices for both types of oil, WTI Crude and Brent, fell 27% by Monday.

The catalyst or reason for the sell-off appears to be the decision by Saudi Arabia to drop its set price for oil. Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s largest oil producers and a member of OPEC. Saudi Arabia was apparently reacting to a decision by Russia to increase its oil output in a bid to help its economy in the wake of the Coronavirus slowdown.

Today, the impact of oil prices falling below $US30 per barrel will likely be felt by producers such as Woodside, Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) and Oil Search Ltd (ASX: OSH).

Qantas Airways ends share buyback

This morning Qantas provided an additional update on its performance following further news of a Coronavirus-induced travel slowdown. In its ASX update, Qantas said it has cut its international flights by nearly a quarter for the next six months on account of a “sudden and significant drop in forward travel demand.”

“We expect lower demand to continue for the next several months, so rather than taking a piecemeal approach we’re cutting capacity out to mid-September,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said. “This improves our ability to reduce costs as well as giving more certainty to the market, customers and our people.”

Qantas has binned its share buyback program and says it expects a meaningful impact on its financial performance this year but profits cannot be reliably estimated at this time.

Ex-dividend stocks

Today, Sonic Healthcare shares join Reliance Worldwide Corporation Ltd (ASX: RWC) and Lovisa Holdings Ltd (ASX: LOV) in going ex-dividend, according to Morningstar.

Meaning, these companies’ shares would ordinarily be expected to trade lower after issuing a dividend. However, given the already strong headwinds facing markets today, investors might expect the ex-dividend sell-off to be stronger-than-usual.

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