ASX Trading Wrap: Energy, lithium, gold and iron ore stocks power market higher

ASX Trading Wrap: Energy, lithium, gold and iron ore stocks power market higher

Shares leapt higher this week to close at a near eleven-month high, led by a number of resources stocks.

Buoyed by positive sentiment around the prospect of another stimulus package following the Democrats clean sweep of the Georgia election runoffs, there was also support for the major banks.

At Friday’s close, the ASX 200 settled on 6,757.90 points, 2.6% higher than a week ago.


Which shares excelled?

Having been one of the market’s most-favoured trades in recent weeks, lithium stocks continued their ascent amid the enthusiasm surrounding electric vehicle development overseas. This was highlighted by Pilbara Minerals’ (ASX: PLS) record shipments for the December quarter, beating its internal forecasts. In response, the stock rose 25.1%, while its peers Galaxy Resources (ASX: GXY) and Orocobre (ASX: ORE) gained 28.7% and 11.9% respectively throughout the week.

Also seeing a share of the spoils this week was Lynas Rare Earths (ASX: LYC), which jumped 15.6%. Although the company did not announce any news to the market, the stock has been steadily climbing over the last six months, up nearly 150%.

Oil prices gained ground, stabilising above US$50/barrel as Saudi Arabia surprised the market with its intention to cut production in February and March. LNG prices were also higher as a production shutdown at the Gorgon LNG plant in Western Australia constrains supply. Between the two developments, this gave a boost to a host of stocks from the local energy sector, including the likes of Oil Search (ASX: OSH), Santos (ASX: STO), Woodside Petroleum (ASX: WPL), and Origin Energy (ASX: ORG).

Gold shares also had a bright start to the week, and despite paring their gains on Thursday and Friday, were still largely among the week’s best-performing stocks.

Finally, the iron ore miners chalked up new all-time highs this week as the price of the commodity surged yet again. BHP (ASX: BHP) gained 10% and hit a high of $47.15. Its largest rival, Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO), touched $127.00 before settling on a rise of 8.9% for the week. Rounding things out, Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) hit $26.40 at one point, while Mineral Resources (ASX: MIN) leapt to $41.19 on Friday before easing somewhat.



Which shares dragged on the market?

Link Administration Holdings (ASX: LNK) was among the weakest performers this week as the takeover offer hanging over the company from Nasdaq-listed SS&C Technology Holdings was withdrawn. In response to the news, the stock dived 16.2%. Management has indicated they will still consider alternatives to maximise shareholder value, including the prospect of demerging its stake in transaction settlement business PEXA.

Elsewhere, it was mainly tech stocks in the red this week amid volatility from the Nasdaq, even though the tech index reached a new all-time high once again.

Pushpay (ASX: PPH) eased 10.7% this week, while EML Payments (ASX: EML) shed 8.9% of its market cap. In the case of Pushpay, the stock has struggled to find its feet since it announced it would facilitate the selldown of a bulk parcel of shares tied to its former CEO. Meanwhile, EML Payments’ exposure to the European and US markets, where COVID continues to wreak havoc, is something that shareholders may be concerned about.

Altium (ASX: ALU), Megaport (ASX: MP1) and WiseTech (ASX: WTC) were also on the chopping block this week, with each stock stalling since around the time vaccine news first broke in November. This week, the trio lost 8.1%, 8.5% and 7.4% respectively.


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


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