ASX Week Ahead: Dividend shares, Australian GDP and RBA rate decision on watch

ASX Week Ahead: Dividend shares, Australian GDP and RBA rate decision on watch

For the third week in a row, ASX futures are pointing to a soft start for the local market, disregarding a positive lead from US markets, where the S&P 500 rallied into the close and topped the 3,500 mark for the first time. With reporting season now largely complete, investors will renew their focus on the broader economy, headlined by GDP data for the second quarter.


Economic calendar and news

Economists expect that data to be released on Wednesday morning may show Australia’s GDP contracted by as much as 5.5% in the second quarter, highlighting the impact that COVID-19 had across the nation. If not for the strength of exports of resources such as iron ore and gold, as well as stimulus measures mitigating the impact to consumers, GDP would have likely fared far worse.

On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia will hold its monthly Board meeting. Consensus forecasts suggest that the central bank will keep the official cash rate target at 0.25%, despite some predictions last month that a surprise cut to 0.1% was an outside possibility. That suggestion has largely fallen off the radar in recent weeks amid what some analysts have said may be the limited benefit in such a move.

Other news on the Australian economic calendar this week includes private sector credit, manufacturing and services activity, building permits, exports and imports, plus the balance of trade, and retail sales.

Overseas, China’s manufacturing activity is expected to show signs of further growth when data is released on Monday and Tuesday. Most observers will be looking to the US market for comments around the Federal Reserve’s average inflation target program. In addition, US non-farm payrolls set to be released on Friday evening Australian time will detail whether the world’s largest economy is still showing signs of a gradual rebound in the jobs market.


ASX reporting spotlight and major movers

While most high-profile ASX stocks have now released their earnings results for FY20 or HY20, there are still some businesses that will report over the coming days and weeks. IOOF Holdings (ASX: IFL) is one of these, with its results being published this morning. The investment management business is also in the news on the back of a $1.5 billion deal to acquire National Australia Bank’s (ASX: NAB) wealth management business, MLC, which will be funded through a capital raise.

There will also be some pressure on the ASX throughout the week as various companies trade ex-dividend. On Monday, this includs Ansell (ASX: ANN), Alumina (ASX: AWC) and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG), with the latter having declared a fully-franked dividend of $1.00 per share.

Other dividend stocks include Appen (ASX: APX), Worley (ASX: WOR) and Woolworths (ASX: WOW), all trading ex-dividend on Tuesday, plus Amcor (ASX: AMC), Iress (ASX: IRE), Treasury Wine Estates (ASX: TWE), which go ex-dividend on Wednesday.

Rounding out the week, Altium (ASX: ALU), BHP (ASX: BHP), Perpetual (ASX: PPT) and Spark Infrastructure (ASX: SKI) will trade ex-dividend on Thursday, before WiseTech Global (ASX: WTC) follows suit on Friday.

In terms of major movers, Insurance Australia Group (ASX: IAG) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX: WHC) enter the trading week at 52-week lows, both struggling to find support after delivering their respective earnings. In contrast, stocks like Pointsbet Holdings (ASX: PBH) and Data#3 (ASX: DTL) are trading near their all-time highs, proving that some businesses have been able to chart significant growth in recent months despite all the prevailing economic headwinds.


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