With reporting season in full swing, this week’s biggest movers were separated by their trading updates.
Nonetheless, the ASX had a flat week, down 0.2% with a Friday sell-off in CSL and iron ore miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals weighing on the market, despite each delivering strong results.
Gold stocks were crunched this week, as were shares related to energy and funds management, with the ASX 200 closing on 6,793.80 points.
Which shares excelled?
After entering a trading halt late last week in response to a short seller report, Nearmap (ASX: NEA) fought back and rose 21.3% across the course of the trading week. In releasing its half-year earnings, the company refuted many of the allegations that targeted its US operations, pointing to strong growth in its annualised contract value (ACV), particularly in North America where the company achieved record half-year growth.
EML Payments (ASX: EML) was one to watch this week as the company reported a 61% increase in revenue over the December-half to reach $95.3 million. At the same time, management went on to forecast that FY21 EBITDA would be in the range of $50 million to $54 million, which at the mid-point represents growth of 60%. Shares in the payments solutions provider soared 24.2% this week.
Communications technology and metal detector business Codan (ASX: CDA) hit an all-time high this week in the wake of its own half-year trading update. The company recorded a 14% rise in sales to $194 million, led by surging interest in its metal detection products. Net profit for the half was a record $41.3 million, 36% higher than 1H FY20. While management stopped short of providing full-year guidance, the Board resolved to declare a dividend 40% higher than a year ago.
Novonix (ASX: NVX) saw a flurry of trading activity today amid news it has partnered with Emera Technologies to develop and manufacture energy storage systems for community microgrids, with potential opportunities in North America. It comes at a time where Texas is caught in the midst of an energy shortage crisis. Shares in NVX gained 21.7% across the week.
Two other companies with exposure to the batteries space with strong gains this week included Lynas Rare Earths (ASX: LYC) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS).
Elsewhere, Cochlear’s (ASX: COH) ability to grow underlying net profit by 4% despite weaker sales was received favourably by its shareholders. Management’s decision to reinstate dividends and set a strong guidance of more than 50% growth for full-year earnings also supported investor sentiment.
Despite a sharp pull-back today, Treasury Wine Estates (ASX: TWE) still finished as one of the best-performing stocks this week thanks to a 10.1% gain. Despite well-telegraphed issues in relation to China, shareholders were buoyed by news that the company has seen strong demand come from other Asian markets.
In addition, the company also plans to divest some of its lower-end US brands and split its business into three divisions in place of a Penfolds demerger. As it gears up to launch new high-end products out of the US and France, TWE is also hoping to bypass Australian tariffs and retarget China.
Wrapping up this week’s winners, a host of other stocks that reported over the last few days rallied on the back of their results, including Lovisa (ASX: LOV), Domino’s (ASX: DMP), Westpac (ASX: WBC), Inghams (ASX: ING), Bendigo Bank (ASX: BEN) and Super Retail Group (ASX: SUL).
Which shares dragged on the market?
The share price of NRW Holdings (ASX: NWH) took a pummelling this week, down to the tune of 15%. Despite record revenue in the first half, up 44% versus the prior corresponding period, and a 28% rise in EBITDA to $132.8 million, the company still saw its net result down. In total, NPATN fell 12% after amortisation of acquisition intangibles, while EBITDA margins were squeezed amid COVID resource constraints.
Another stock delivering a record result yet being subject to a brutal sell-off was Netwealth (ASX: NWL), down 13.8%. The wealth management business reported its best half-year increase to its funds under administration (FUA), while net profit leapt 34.5% to $27.6 million. Although there was also solid growth among client accounts and platform revenue, administration fee income is expected to be flat in the second-half after recent price reductions.
Netwealth wasn’t the only stock in the funds management space that had a dour week, with Hub24 (ASX: HUB), Perpetual (ASX: PPT), Magellan Financial Group (ASX: MFG) and Janus Henderson Group (ASX: JHG) all sharply lower.
Gold shares were also in the crosshairs this week as the precious metal shed around 3% to leave it sitting at a crucial support level. Those hit hardest were Northern Star Resources (ASX: NST), Evolution Mining (ASX: EVN), OceanaGold Corporation (ASX: OGC), Ramelius Resources (ASX: RMS) and Silver Lake Resources (ASX: SLR).
The energy sector saw some of its biggest names pull back this week as reporting season unveiled the extent of the challenges some of these companies have faced over recent months. AGL Energy (ASX: AGL) plunged to its lowest level since the GFC, while Woodside Petroleum (ASX: WPL) and Beach Energy (ASX: BPT) also came unstuck.
Finally, Appen (ASX: APX) shares hit a hurdle as the company was downgraded by a prominent broker, Coles (ASX: COL) sounded caution around the longevity of its sales growth, and there were also lower prices for the likes of Suncorp (ASX: SUN), Insurance Australia Group (ASX: IAG) and NextDC (ASX: NXT).
We’ll be back next week with another Weekly ASX Trading Wrap Up – until then, have a great week!
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