Australian shares were touching new records again this week, shaking off any concerns about inflation readings and chalking up another weekly gain. After some time on the outer, tech was one of the strongest contributors over recent days, with a number of market darlings rallying, however, resources also provided strong support. By the end of the week, the ASX 200 had advanced 0.2%, ending on 7,312.30 points.
Which shares excelled?
Making a strong move higher this week, Altium (ASX: ALU) was right up there as one of the week’s best-performing stocks. The sizeable increase in the share price came as computer design software heavyweight Autodesk (NASDAQ: ADSK) lobbed a takeover bid at the Australian company. Management for Altium knocked back the $5 billion bid, priced at $38.50 per share, arguing that it undervalues the business, however, the door has been left ajar for an improved offer.
Also soaring on merger and acquisition news was software and services provider Hansen Technologies (ASX: HSN). The company, with operations spanning across more than 80 countries throughout the world, received a bid from BGH Capital to acquire control of the firm. Priced at $6.50 per share, or what is effectively a $1.3 billion enterprise value, Hansen’s Board has endorsed the proposal.
financial services software firm Iress (ASX: IRE) attracted buying interest this week on the back of its own news regarding its corporate register. Rumours began circulating that investment bank Barrenjoey may be looking to make a direct investment in the company as a major holder, prompting speculation from other shareholders. Although the company dismissed the rumour, it did take the opportunity to end the week by reaffirming its 2021 segment profit guidance of 7-10% growth on the year prior in constant currency terms.
Coal stocks have been a hot trend of late, and this week it proved to be a similar story. There was strong buying activity in the likes of Whitehaven Coal (ASX: WHC) and New Hope Corporation (ASX: NHC), with the segment seemingly charting a recovery that few would have expected months ago as dynamics in the market were shaken up amid political trade tension.
In a week where US shares managed to entrench their gains, while also overcoming any inflation-related sell-off, tech and growth names spurred on the market. Leading the charge were some of those hit particularly hard recently, including Appen (ASX: APX), Afterpay (ASX: APT), Pointsbet (ASX: PBH), WiseTech Global (ASX: WTC), NextDC (ASX: NXT) and EML Payments (ASX: EML).
Elsewhere, as the economic recovery continues across Europe, and the vaccine roll-out picks up speed, including high success in the UK thus far, there was a rally in Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX: URW). The European shopping centre operator has rebounded significantly in recent months as optimism builds around plans to restructure the company’s operations and also see trade pick up across its malls.
Finally, after a period of downbeat trading activity, it was better news for shareholders in both Mesoblast (ASX: MSB) and TPG (ASX: TPG), with each of the beaten-down names breaking out and storming higher despite no price-sensitive news.
Which shares dragged on the market?
There were modest declines in two of the hottest trades from the last few months in Imugene (ASX: IMU) in Chalice Mining (ASX: CHN).
In the case of Imugene, despite releasing an investor presentation to cap off the week, the stock was sold down from near its recent highs, suggesting some profit taking.
Similarly, Chalice Mining found itself among the worst-performers this week largely due to the fact it was traded down from its all-time high. News of extensive nickel-copper soil anomalism at the northern end of its Julimar Complex was not enough to help shore up the stock, but shareholders won’t be disappointed by the stock’s near 800% increase across the last 12 months.
Although there were fewer high-profile shares under the collar this week as the market touched all-time highs, there were instances of indiscriminate selling. A host of companies from various sectors saw their share prices retreat despite no news, including Temple & Webster Group (ASX: TPW), Corporate Travel Management (ASX: CTD), AngloGold Ashanti (ASX: AGG), Hub24 (ASX: HUB) and Reliance Worldwide Corporation (ASX: RWC).
We’ll be back next week with another Weekly ASX Trading Wrap Up – until then, have a great week!
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