Brushing aside last week’s volatility, the ASX hit an 11-month high to close the week. Positive movements in offshore markets helped improve sentiment, while the RBA’s surprise decision to extend its bond-buying program and commit to low interest rates acted as a catalyst for local shares. At the close of trade, the ASX 200 gained 3.5% this week to sit at 6,840.50 points.
Which shares excelled?
Continuing its strong run of form over the last month, Zip Co (ASX: Z1P) shares raced higher by 19.4% this week. With the BNPL firm’s recent quarterly update being well received, and a strong lead from overseas by way of the Nasdaq reaching new all-time highs, the stock was hotly sought-after. That momentum also helped Sezzle (ASX: SZL), which pleased shareholders of its own with an upbeat report this time last week.
Media stocks were on the rise as News Corporation (ASX: NWS) reported its most-profitable quarter in seven years. Shares in the business surged 16.9%. Revenue from its publishing division was squeezed lower, but there was a major uptick in its subscription video segment, with Foxtel proving a drawcard. The update seemingly flowed through to Nine Entertainment Co (ASX: NEC), which ended the week as one of the best-performing stocks as well.
Another stock flying high this week was Tabcorp Holdings (ASX: TAH), which gained 15%. Tabcorp was the subject of media speculation including reports that the company may have been approached in relation to a potential transaction involving its Wagering and Media business. In light of the report, the company came out and confirmed that it had in fact received a number of unsolicited approaches and proposals, albeit none that are binding or assured at this stage.
With the property sector going from strength to strength, and building approvals for private houses hitting a record high after six consecutive months of growth, there were positive results for stocks exposed to this thematic. Winners included Genworth Mortgage Insurance (ASX: GMA), as well as building materials suppliers Boral (ASX: BLD) and Adbri (ASX: ABC).
The strength of the offshore tech sector lifted sentiment for aerial imagery company Nearmap (ASX: NEA), while Carsales (ASX: CAR) maintained its ascent as figures for the new and second-hand car markets continue to improve.
Other winners this week included IOOF Holdings (ASX: IFL), Beach Energy (ASX: BPT), Nanosonics (ASX: NAN), Star Entertainment Group (ASX: SGR) and Virgin Money UK (ASX: VUK).
Which shares dragged on the market?
Gold miners were slapped down this week as the price of the precious metal drifted below US$1,800/oz. Despite its merger with Saracen Mineral Holdings being given the all-clear, Northern Star Resources (ASX: NST) was among the hardest hit, slumping 7.6%. It wasn’t alone, however, with the likes of Ramelius Resources (ASX: RMS), Westgold Resources (ASX: WGX), Silver Lake Resources (ASX: SLR) and De Grey Mining (ASX: DEG) just a few of those to share the pain.
Two shares from other sectors in the doghouse this week were Coronado Global Resources (ASX: CRN) and Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX: URW), both of which fell sharply despite no price-sensitive news emerging. The duo have both see-sawed over recent weeks as each attempts to chart a recovery from major share price falls following COVID-19.
A fourth-quarter update from Janus Henderson Group (ASX: JHG) led some of its shareholders to end the week by abandoning the stock. Despite a significant increase in operating income driven by higher assets under management and investment gains, the company was forced to disclose that one of its substantial shareholders, Dai-ichi Life, would be selling its large stake and relinquishing its seat on the Board.
Finally, an earnings downgrade from Origin Energy (ASX: ORG) was enough to spook shareholders, with the stock slipping 4.4%. In its announcement, the company warned investors about the prospect that power prices may remain low for a while yet, potentially well into FY22.
We’ll be back next week with another Weekly ASX Trading Wrap Up – until then, have a great week!
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