The local share market drifted sideways this week, hitting a nine-month high before late-week selling flattened the momentum. By the end of the trading week, the ASX 200 was sitting on 6,642.6 points, 0.1% higher compared with last Friday. Once again, iron ore miners helped fuel gains, while corporate activity was also in abundance this week as takeover offers were front and centre.
Which shares excelled?
IGO (ASX: IGO) ended the week on a high note, as the company wrapped up its institutional entitlement offer and placement. The company will use the proceeds from the raise to take up a 49% stake in a lithium hydroxide plant in WA as part of a $1.9 billion deal with China’s Tianqi Lithium. IGO will also gain exposure to the world’s largest hard-rock lithium mine, at Greenbushes.
The subject of a $5.1 billion takeover from AustralianSuper, New Zealand-based infrastructure investment company Infratil (ASX: IFT) made it into the list of the best-performing shares this week. The company knocked back the bid within 24 hours, citing what it perceived to be a ‘low’ offer. The takeover bid also had a flow-on effect for listed business Tilt Renewables (ASX: TLT), which is owned by Infratil. Shares in IFT and TLT gained 22.4% and 28.4% respectively this week.
Also in the midst of merger and acquisition news was Link Administration (ASX: LNK). The company received a new $3.6 billion indicative takeover offer from Nasdaq-listed SS&C Holding, which offered shareholders $5.65 per share to fully acquire the superannuation fund administrator. This comes after the company recently turned down a private equity bid at $5.40, raising some speculation that a ‘bidding war’ could be on the table. By the end of the week, LNK shares had surged 12.2%.
From the gold sector, OceanaGold Corporation (ASX: OGC) bucked the trend, rising 26.3% this week. The move was sparked by the company’s announcement on Monday, in which OceanaGold indicated that it was one step closer towards the renewal of its Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) for its Didipio Mine, located in the Philippines. With access restricted to the site over the last 15 months amid protests, the renewal of its FTAA would permit the company to resume mining operations at the site.
With sentiment strong of late for lithium stocks, Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS) notched up another solid week, before entering a trading halt ahead of the outcome of the second creditors meeting for Altura Lithium Operations, a company that it is looking to acquire.
Finally, iron ore miners continued their hot streak this week as the commodity raced towards US$160/tonne. While the majors each had a good week, there was also some support for mid-tier producers such as Mount Gibson Iron (ASX: MGX) and Champion Iron (ASX: CIA), which rose by 11.6% and 8.4% respectively.
Which shares dragged on the market?
Sparking somewhat of a tech sell-off on Thursday following its earnings guidance downgrade, Appen (ASX: APX) was left to feel the heat as one of the worst-performing stocks this week. Shares in APX shed 14.5% after the AI machine-learning business took an axe to its earnings guidance for 2020 amid the impact of the pandemic and the rising Aussie dollar. In total, the company dropped its forecast from $125-130 million in EBITDA to $106-109 million.
Elsewhere, cinema, hotel and resort operator Event Hospitality and Entertainment (ASX: EVT) was given a reality check after informing the market that the proposed sale of its German cinemas business, Cinestar, could be in jeopardy amid the upcoming regulatory deadline in place. As part of the deal, the buying party was required to divest six sites, which is ongoing and stands in the way of the deal going through.
Shares in Webjet (ASX: WEB) were sharply lower despite no price-sensitive news from the company. Among the possible contributors to the fall were news that Australia’s international border closure has been extended, in addition to some complications with vaccines abroad and locally. The stock dropped 8.7% since this time last Friday.
Rounding things out, recent favourites De Grey Mining (ASX: DEG) and Sezzle (ASX: SZL) both had a week to forget, as sentiment swung against each company, even in the absence of any corporate news. Meanwhile, IDP Education (ASX: IEL) continued its poor run of form, with Australia-China trade relations again proving a point of anxiety for concerned shareholders.
We’ll be back next week with another Weekly ASX Trading Wrap Up – until then, have a great weekend!
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