The US Federal Reserve may have sought to downplay concerns around interest rates, and Australian unemployment data showed the number of people employed and total hours worked across the economy are now in line with pre-pandemic levels, yet the local market slipped this week. Over the course of the week the ASX 200 declined 0.9%, ending on 6,708.20 points.
Which shares excelled?
De Grey Mining (ASX: DEG) was one of the biggest movers this week, advancing 23.9%. It came as the company unveiled drilling results that extend the Brolga mineralised system at its Hemi gold project in Western Australia. Also supporting the case was some renewed interest in mid-cap gold explorers on the back of a short-lived spike in gold prices following the Federal Reserve’s meeting.
Another winner was Collins Foods (ASX: CKF), the franchise operator of KFC restaurants across Australia, as well as other brands internationally. Shares in CKF jumped 19.1% this week and despite no price-sensitive news, were likely lifted by buying activity from a new substantial holder, Milford Asset Management, which records show added to its position on Monday and Tuesday.
In a similar fashion, Fineos Corporation (ASX: FCL) jumped strongly in response to news that Virtus Group had become a substantial holder in the company, leading the shares to gain 10.2%.
Moving into the ASX 300, Piedmont Lithium (ASX: PLL) was on a tear this week. The company also backed up that development with the launch of a DFS for its integrated lithium hydroxide project in North Carolina. The company expects to complete this in the third quarter of the year, however, it was enough to encourage shareholders to pile into the stock.
Retailers Temple & Webster Group (ASX: TPW) and Harvey Norman (ASX: HVN) gained ground this week as some love found its way into the consumer discretionary sector. Shares in TPW were spurred on by favourable coverage from investment bank Morgan Stanley, while shares in Harvey Norman touched a new multi-year high as the Australian economic landscape continues to show signs of improvement that facilitate higher discretionary spending.
Elsewhere, there were promising moves higher for shares in Link Administration Holdings (ASX: LNK), Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX: TLX) and Tilt Renewables (ASX: TLT), with the latter hitting a record level on the back of the company’s Board recommending its takeover go ahead.
Which shares dragged on the market?
Despite news that it will be added to the All Ordinaries, and no other announcements across the course of the week, Novonix (ASX: NVX) shares slumped, shedding 8%. The stock has proven to be particularly volatile in recent weeks, with sentiment swinging wildly as investors grapple with riskier high-growth stocks and broader unease across global markets. Having deferred its Share Purchase Plan (SPP), the company has secured funds at what is now a premium via a placement.
Iron ore shares were also caught on the wrong side of the coin this week, as funds flowed out of the big names and into other value plays. Concerns among shareholders have risen over the last fortnight as China seeks to curb carbon emissions by forcing some of its factories to halt operations, including steel production, where heavy pollution alerts are raised. Each of the trio in Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO), BHP (ASX: BHP) and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) weighed on the market.
Another big name having an impact on the ASX was Afterpay (ASX: APT), with the buy-now pay-later frontrunner now facing the prospect of having to fend off competition from Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA), which will enter the segment with its own offer. Offshore tech volatility and speculation the RBA may still consider regulating the sector also weighed on the stock, in a week where Afterpay launched its offer in France, Spain and Italy.
Elsewhere, shares in oOh!Media (ASX: OML) dipped this week, even though there was no price-sensitive news emerging from the company. The company has yet to reclaim its pre-COVID heights, and across the last five months, the share price has been trading in a somewhat narrow band.
Other shares sold down this week included Nufarm (ASX: NUF), Sandfire Resources (ASX: SFR), Deterra Royalties (ASX: DRR) and Corporate Travel Management (ASX: CTD), despite encouraging news about potential travel bubbles on the horizon with both Singapore and New Zealand.
We’ll be back next week with another Weekly ASX Trading Wrap Up – until then, have a great week!
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