The ASX has ended the week sharply lower, with Friday’s sell-off pushing the market into negative territory for the week. Investors had earlier shrugged off slightly worse-than-expected numbers depicting the extent of Australia’s recession, only to retreat to the sidelines in panic as profit taking hit US markets overnight. By the close of trade, the ASX 200 was sitting on 5,925.5 points, shedding 2.4% across the week.
Which shares excelled?
Despite a sluggish finish to the week, Temple & Webster (ASX: TPW) was spurred on by its FY20 results this week. The company, which has seen a surge in sales amid the mass shift to e-commerce, recorded $8.5 million in earnings for the year. However, it was a trading update that excited shareholders, with management estimating that EBITDA has totalled around $6 million just from trading in July and August in FY21. Shares in TPW gained 12.2% throughout the week.
Skycity Entertainment Group (ASX: SKC) was also a major mover this week, advancing 11.7%. Although the casino operator has been impacted by COVID travel bans and lockdowns, the company’s annual report showcased some resilience in its online gambling operations. The division turned profitable in April, with customer growth proving particularly strong.
For the second week running, De Grey Mining (ASX: DEG) had a bumper week, making it onto the list of the best-performing stocks. Further drilling results from the company caught the attention of investors, with more intercepts expected to be released as its drill campaign continues.
A strategy update from Lendlease Group (ASX: LLC) helped shore its stock price. The diversified global property group announced it will sell over $1 billion of non-core assets as it looks to devote its attention to development activity. Management has identified a total development pool of $113 billion, of which it hopes to convert more than $8 billion in developments per year for its own pipeline. Lendlease shares finished the week 9.1% higher.
Elsewhere, there was support for the likes of Costa Group Holdings (ASX: CGC), Transurban (ASX: TCL), as well as Auckland International (ASX: AIA) and Sydney Airport (ASX: SYD), with investors hoping the government’s push to reopen most state borders and a potential NZ travel bubble by Christmas transpires.
Which shares dragged on the market?
Having been one of the market’s strongest performing areas in recent times, the buy-now pay-later segment was hit by a wave of selling this week. The main catalyst was news earlier in the week that PayPal would be pushing its way into the segment, offering its own pay in four solution.
In response, some shareholders in BNPL stocks locked in profits on concerns around the industry barriers to entry and the risk that PayPal could erode their offshore growth. Sezzle (ASX: SZL), with its US focus, was hit hardest, while all other players from industry-leader Afterpay (ASX: APT) to junior hopeful OpenPay (ASX: OPY) were sold down sharply.
There were a host of other tech stocks savaged by the shift in sentiment that occurred on the NASDAQ. Companies such as Appen (ASX: APX), Technology One (ASX: TNE), Pushpay Holdings (ASX: PPH), Kogan (ASX: KGN), Megaport (ASX: MP1), Nearmap (ASX: NEA) and Computershare (ASX: CPU) all faced a torrid finish to the week.
With IOOF Holdings (ASX: IFL) announcing a capital raise to help it acquire MLC from National Australia Bank, the stock came under selling pressure as soon as it resumed trading on Wednesday. IFL dived 10.5% to land broadly in line with the issue price of new shares, with the raise completed at $3.50 per share.
In terms of other major movers, the sudden departure of CEO Pat Regan was enough to send QBE Insurance’s (ASX: QBE) shares into a tailspin, while Fortescue Metals (ASX: FMG) also ranked among the week’s worst-performing shares, albeit its drop was driven by the stock trading ex-dividend to the tune of $1.00 per share at the start of the week.
We’ll be back next week with another Weekly ASX Trading Wrap Up – until then, have a great weekend!
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