The S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) is expected to trade slightly higher today with the Sydney Futures Exchange pointing to a positive open. However, it’s really anyone’s guess what will actually happen.
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Important News Today
1. Ansell Limited
In 1905, Eric Ansell founded the Ansell Rubber Company, initially a balloon & condom company that eventually expanded into surgical, household and work gloves. The company recently divested its sexual wellness segment to focus more on the safety side of its operations.
This morning the global glove-making company released an FY20 business update and to the delight of its shareholders affirmed its earnings/profit per share guidance. Ansell said it is experiencing very strong demand for ist AlphaTec hand and body protection products, as well as high levels of demand for its examination and protective gloves. This high level of demand is, however, offset by weakness in demand for some other products, such as its industrial products.
Ansell’s announcement read: “Given our forward view on order pipeline and how the business is tracking, Ansell is reiterating its F’20 EPS guidance range of US112¢ to US122¢.”
Ansell also confirmed it had no significant debt due in the next 12 months.
2. Idp Education Ltd
IDP Education is a diversified online education business, specialising in the IELTS exams popular with international students.
This morning IDP requested a voluntary suspension of its ASX shares as it assesses the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on its business model. The company said it will make an announcement to the market with regards to the impacts, as well as management’s response, within five trading days. IDP Education shares have halved in price since February, falling from a high of $24.60 to their current price of $11.56.
3. Bank of Queensland
BOQ is one of Australia’s leading ‘regional’ banks with more than 180 branches throughout Australia. Unlike many other banks, many of BOQ’s branches are run by their ‘owner-managers’, who are effectively small business owners. Most of BOQ’s loans are mortgages.
BOQ today withdrew its 2020 financial year profit guidance because the “highly uncertain environment” made accurate forecasting of results challenging. BOQ also announced it would not seek an exemption from APRA, the banking regulator, to approve its 12-month profit in relation to its half-year dividend.
Similar to the major banks, BOQ is rolling out its own packages to small business and individuals, including a fast-tracking of financial hardship assistance, a deferral of six months on business loans up to $10 million, and the option to choose between deferred mortgage repayments or interest-only repayments for three months.