The ASX 200 fell 2.3% last week to 5,919.20 points, with investor sentiment dampened by the reintroduction of lockdown measures across metropolitan Melbourne. With some estimates suggesting the immediate economic impact of the lockdown will be around one billion dollars per week, let alone potential implications around the viability of businesses and employment levels, some of the most-exposed shares in the travel, leisure, entertainment and real estate industries were sold down heavily.


Which shares excelled?

The fanfare surrounding buy-now pay-later stocks showed no signs of abating last week, as the leading players in the segment catapulted higher.

US-focused Sezzle (ASX: SZL) leapt 66.3% as the company reported a record quarter, with underlying merchant sales expected to reach an annualised pace of US$1 billion by the end of the year. However, the biggest move for the stock came on Thursday, ahead of a trading halt, which detailed the company’s plans to raise $86.3 million to accelerate its growth strategy.

Meanwhile, Zip Co (ASX: Z1P) and Afterpay (ASX: APT) surged 26.1% and 7.1% respectively. Zip shareholders may be positioning themselves ahead of an expected trading update, but the stock set a new record high. Afterpay initiated an $800 million capital raise. Although its co-founders have reduced their holdings in the company, institutional investors have backed the company’s continued growth, with underlying sales up by triple-digit percentage figures.

Gold shares were also on a tear, as the price of the precious metal cracked the US$1800/oz mark. That development spurred on the likes of Perseus Mining (ASX: PRU), OceanaGold Corporation (ASX: OGC), St Barbara (ASX: SBM), Kirkland Lake Gold (ASX: KLA) and Gold Road Resources (ASX: GOR), among others.

A quarterly business update from Netwealth (ASX: NWL) sent the company’s shares racing higher to an all-time high. The investment and superannuation platform has seen its Funds Under Administration (FUA) grow by $8.2 billion across FY20 to reach $31.5 billion as at 30 June, 2020. The company reported record FUA net inflows of $9.1 billion for the financial year. Shares in Netwealth increased 18.4% last week.

Another stock in the spotlight was Kogan (ASX: KGN), which has already enjoyed a stellar run over the last couple months. The online retailer announced that it had raised $20 million through the completion of its Share Purchase Plan, however, it was the general positive sentiment around e-commerce that buoyed the stock, which rose 10.8% throughout the trading week.



Which shares dragged on the market?

As Melbourne plunged into a new lockdown, and as COVID cases continue to soar throughout the world, travel stocks were hit particularly hard last week. Corporate Travel Management (ASX: CTD) was down 15.2%, Webjet (ASX: WEB) fell 9.6%, Qantas (ASX: QAN) dived 8.1%, Sydney Airport (ASX: SYD) shed 7.7% and Flight Centre (ASX: FLT) dipped 7.5%.

On a related note, stocks exposed to the tourism and leisure industries were smacked down last week as well. This included Star Entertainment Group (ASX: SGR) and Crown Resorts (ASX: CWN).

Property fund managers were also under fire for the same reasons, with many shopping centres likely to see a decline in foot traffic, and further straining in commercial tenancy agreements in Melbourne. The most-impacted shares were Vicinity Centres (ASX: VCX), Stockland (ASX: SGP), Mirvac Group (ASX: MGR) and Charter Hall Group (ASX: CHC).

As the disruption to the local economy begins to reverberate on the back of the latest surge in COVID cases, the building industry was also feeling the pinch. Shares such as Lend Lease (ASX: LLC), Cimic Group (ASX: CIM), Adbri (ASX: ABC) and Downer EDI (ASX: DOW) reflected this change in sentiment, each weighing heavily on the ASX.



This week’s trading outlook

With upbeat news on Friday evening regarding the prospects of the pharmaceutical drug Remdesivir, where early study results suggest it could potentially help manage COVID-19 fatalities, US shares rallied strongly off their pre-market lows. As a result, local futures entered the weekend indicating that the ASX could see a sharp jump when trading restarts.

Local data on consumer confidence and the employment landscape will dominate the economic headlines in the week ahead. Forecasts suggest the unemployment rate is likely to edge higher on account of an expected increase in the participation rate. However, the pace of said increase is expected to moderate compared with the last spike, namely due to the prospect of an increase in jobs numbers. Nonetheless, recent days have shown that the unemployment scenario may well deteriorate in a month’s time, once Melbourne’s latest lockdown is factored into the data.

Overseas, China’s GDP data for the second quarter is expected to show a return to growth, having slumped 6.8% in the first quarter of 2020. US inflation and retail sales will provide a barometer into the state of the world’s largest economy.

The latest round of earnings season will kick off in the US, with major banks, multinational health care businesses and some tech stocks set to report. The results, particularly from US banks, could have a flow-on effect for the ASX, with shares like Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) among those that might be impacted.

With the financial year coming to a close, we may also begin to see some early preliminary results emerge in the coming week or two. Although reporting season does not officially commence for some weeks yet, it is not unusual for certain companies to provide indicative results around mid-July.

Some companies, however, have pencilled in their latest quarterly reporting dates. This includes Woodside Petroleum (ASX: WPL), which will report its second-quarter results on Thursday, while Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) will report its quarterly results on Friday. The two companies have seen their fortunes split in recent months as the price of oil plummeted, and iron ore surged.

Last but not least, Xero (ASX: XRO) enters the new week joining a chorus of other companies trading at an all-time high. The cloud-based accounting software business last traded at $93.18, with its year-to-date gains extending to 16.8%.


We’ll be back next week with another Weekly ASX Trading Wrap Up – until then, have a great week!



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