With reporting season now all but over, the ASX 200 managed to edge higher by 0.5% this week to finish on 7,522.90 points. Uranium, coal and battery metals stocks all shone brightly this week, dominating the list of the top-performing companies.
Which shares excelled?
Up more than 60%, Paladin Energy (ASX: PDN) shares were on a tear this week as uranium spot prices hit a six-year high. Momentum has been building among global stocks from the uranium sector in recent weeks, with Paladin being one such example, and in the process, hitting its highest price since 2013.
Another sector seeing a resurgence in terms of pricing has been the coal industry, despite industry tailwinds emanating amid the shift to renewable energy. Nonetheless, coal prices have been rallying to new highs, with both coking and thermal coal companies benefitting. China’s ‘ban’ on Australian coal has reshaped the industry over the last year, and China’s border closure with Mongolia has also had an impact. Coal shares rising this week were Coronado Global Resources (ASX: CRN), Whitehaven Coal (ASX: WHC), Yancoal (ASX: YAL) and New Hope Corporation (ASX: NHC).
Lithium and battery metals stocks were back in demand over recent days, with investors returning to a host of popular names after a brief pull-back. Lithium explorer AVZ Minerals (ASX: AVZ) was one of the best-performers this week, and the likes of Orocobre (ASX: ORE), Novonix (ASX: NVX), Liontown Resources (ASX: LTR), Piedmont Lithium (ASX: PLL) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS) all followed suit.
Elsewhere, Alumina (ASX: AWC) shares continued to rally after the company’s earnings last week. The company’s refineries achieved record production, and despite net profit sinking, management forecast an improvement in alumina prices as shipping disruptions ease. Meanwhile, South32 (ASX: S32) hit a 14-month high this week as aluminium prices rally to 10-year highs.
Three more names that lifted this week after delivering positive earnings results included online luxury fashion retailer Cettire (ASX: CTT), internet service provider Aussie Broadband (ASX: ABB), and funerals business Invocare (ASX: IVC).
Which shares dragged on the market?
Mesoblast (ASX: MSB) shares hit a 52-week low earlier this week before paring losses, ending the week about 14% lower. It came as the company disclosed wider losses of nearly US$100 million, as well as additional concerns and requirements from the US FDA regarding its remestemcel-L drug candidate. Management sought to reassure shareholders its program is still proceeding, and liaison with the FDA will be required to agree on protocol and potency assay.
Shares in Bellevue Gold (ASX: BGL) tanked after the company conducted an institutional placement to the value of $106 million, as well as a share purchase plan eyeing another $25 million in fresh capital. The gold miner is hoping to use the funds for its predevelopment activities that would move it closer towards kick-starting production.
Also falling on the back of a capital raise was BWX (ASX: BWX), with the company asking shareholders for $100 million in new funding. The personal care products company will use the money to acquire a majority interest in Go-To Skincare, a local skin care provider that generated nearly $37 million in revenue last year and $11.6 million in EBITDA.
Altium (ASX: ALU) shares were lower after the company released its delayed earnings report. While net profit after tax from continuing operations surged 79% to US$35.3 million, underlying earnings actually fell by 2.9% to US$60 million. On a longer-term horizon, management also pushed back its aspirational revenue goal for 2025 by a year.
News of share sales from Dicker Data’s (ASX: DDR) Chairman and CEO flattened momentum in the computer hardware distributor, however, the company sought to reassure investors the sale was not a reflection of its leader’s view on the company’s outlook. Having sold just 2.74 million shares, Mr Dicker still holds 58 million shares.
Finally, other stocks facing a tough time this week were Wesfarmers (ASX: WES), Nuix (ASX: NXL), AGL (ASX: AGL), Harvey Norman (ASX: HVN), and BHP (ASX: BHP), with the latter sinking sharply following its ex-dividend date.
We’ll be back next week with another Weekly ASX Trading Wrap Up – until then, have a great week!
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