Going viral: ASIC steps in to keep markets calm
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Australian markets saw record trading levels over the last two weeks and now the market regulator has stepped in to keep things calm.
Following trading volumes that hit such high levels on Friday, exchanges and brokers had to work through the weekend.
This prompted ASIC to start limiting the number of trades large market players can make each day.
The corporate cop says large traders must reduce the number of trades they make by 25 per cent a day, from the levels seen on Friday.
“This action will require high-volume participants and their clients to actively manage their volumes. We do not expect these limits to impact the ability of retail consumers to execute trades,” ASIC said in a statement.
Over the last two weeks companies have been dribbling out coronavirus-related statements to tell investors that they’re either, a) making a killing from COVID-19, b) have a product or service that might be useful in a crisis, c) are definitely not making a killing from coronavirus, or d) are withdrawing all guidance because they just don’t know what the situation will be when they need to open their books at the end of the year.
One of the latest to do this is Getswift (ASX:GSW), which raised $US45m last week in a deal which potentially gives the funder, LDA Capital, majority control of the company.
In a 10-point plan the delivery management company tried to calm investors, still irate from revelations in February 2018 that fewer than half of its announced contracts were making money and some no longer existed.
While the company has launched work-from-home and other pastoral care strategies for its staff, it’s unclear how the impact on its public-facing customers, who make the deliveries, will affect Getwsift.
Getswift is currently defending itself and executives Joel Macdonald and Bane Hunter against a class action lawsuit and legal action by ASIC.
Fintech Sezzle (ASX:SZL) went further, offering unlimited sick leave for “anyone experiencing symptoms” related to COVID-19.
The US-based digital credit company said it would also expand its fee forgiveness and payment flexibility programs, and offer users two free reschedules of payments on their orders.
In January Sezzle won a California lending licence. The California Department of Business Oversight said the company had agreed to stop making illegal loans, refund fees totalling $US282,000 ($456,607) to consumers in the state, and pay a $US28,200 fine.
Splitit Payments (ASX: SPT) says it hasn’t seen any material impact from COVID-19 on its merchant sales volume or revenue. It says it sees strong growth in new merchants and partnerships and remains well positioned financially with $16.3m in cash at the end of December 2019.
Outdoor advertising company oOh!media (ASX:OML) says revenue for the year to date has been in line with the prior corresponding period but it can’t be sure how the rest of the year will pan out. Capital expenditure will be materially below the bottom of the previous guidance range of $60-$70m and it’s withdrawn its FY20 capex guidance.