ASX Trading Wrap: Miners sink the local market as volatility returns

ASX Trading Wrap: Miners sink the local market as volatility returns

Local shares tumbled lower this week as US indexes experienced their largest one-day drop since October on Wednesday night amid a large-cap sell-off. Positive earnings results from big tech failed to arrest the slide. Weakness among iron ore miners weighed on the local stock market, with the ASX 200 down 2.8% this week to land on 6,607.40 points.

 

Which shares excelled?

A wide range of names topped this week’s best-performing stocks, with no particular trend emerging among the frontrunners, although there was support for certain stocks sold short in the wake of the GameStop short-squeeze in the US.

Nonetheless, Piedmont Lithium (ASX: PLL) had a largely positive week, climbing 11.5%. The stock was sold down during Friday’s trading session, however, there proved two catalysts for the company across the week. First, at a macro level, US President Biden’s commitment to replace federal government vehicles with EVs provided a positive backdrop for the company, while the stock was also in line for a broker initiation report in the US suggesting a higher share price due to its Tesla contract.

The strong performance of European-listed shares in Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX: URW) flowed through to the local listing of the stock. It came after the company had featured among the worst-performing stocks last week, suggesting shareholders were happy to buy the dip. One possible factor that may have contributed to the rise in Europe was the latest news surrounding the supply of vaccination shots across the region.

Buoyant news regarding the property sector helped Domain Holdings Australia (ASX: DHG) jump 8%, and in the process, touching a new all-time high. News this week suggested that Sydney home prices have reached a record level, easily topping pre-COVID prices.

Shares in Treasury Wine Estates (ASX: TWE) defied the market-wide slump on Thursday to leap ahead. Better-than-expected terms of trade data released earlier this week may have provided an impetus for the rally, however, an alternative reason could relate to short sales being closed out.

Technology One (ASX: TNE) and Megaport (ASX: MP1) were two peers that defied a weak showing from the IT sector to deliver robust gains this week, with the latter treated to a broker upgrade from Goldman Sachs.

 

 

Which shares dragged on the market?

IOOF Holdings (ASX: IFL) dived 16.6% as the financial services business published its second-quarter update, with Funds Under Management, Advice and Administration (FUMA) slipping $400 million. This was largely driven by the termination of its relationship with BT, and the liquidation of IOOF’s Cash Management Fund, which dented underlying growth from market performance across the quarter. Also weighing on the firm was the Early Release of Super (ERS).

Kogan (ASX: KGN) and Temple and Webster Group (ASX: TPW) were hurt by weakness in the local tech sector this week as the Nasdaq had its sharpest drop in some time on Wednesday night. Despite reporting first-half sales growth of 96%, shares in Kogan were also under pressure following comments from management that the company was facing “significant challenges” to meet elevated demand.

Meanwhile, investors also sold off recent lithium favourites Galaxy Resources (ASX: GXY), Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS) and Orocobre (ASX: ORE). Even though Galaxy Resources and Orocobre delivered upbeat results in their respective quarterly activities reports, the recent rally across the sector provided shareholders with an opportunity to take profits in light of the news.

One of the largest stocks on the ASX also had a week to forget, with Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) shedding 10.4% of its market cap. Investors were jittery about the prospect of lower crude steel production in China over the coming year, with steel mills facing lower profits. Iron ore, a key material input for steel, was sold down, which weighed on the major names in the indsutry.

Finally, weakness in the energy sector dragged on the broader market, with several high-profile names stifled by news updates. In the case of Santos (ASX: STO), the stock fell 9.7% after S&P Global Ratings put the company on CreditWatch, with negative implications. Oil Search (ASX: OSH) dipped by a similar amount, but its troubles were tied to a 42% drop in fourth-quarter revenue, and an outlook featuring lower production levels and higher unit operating costs.

 

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

 

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