ASX Week Ahead: Tech shares face a volatile week, while REITs battle extended lockdowns in Melbourne

ASX Week Ahead: Tech shares face a volatile week, while REITs battle extended lockdowns in Melbourne

After a volatile end to trading last week, the ASX is poised to slide at the open on Monday morning. Despite the US unemployment rate improving to its best figure in months, US tech shares were again subject to heavy selling on Friday evening, and despite paring some of their losses, still finished in the red. News over the weekend relating to the extended lockdown measures in Melbourne may also be on the minds of investors, with the economic impact set to exceed previous estimates.


Economic calendar and news

The latest data on job advertisements will provide a glimpse into the employment market and could impact stocks like Seek (ASX: SEK) and the Big Four banks. In July, national job ad growth was higher by 16.7%, however, this only reflected a partial impact from Stage 3 lockdowns. Growth is forecast to have eased in August on the back of the full impact of Melbourne’s second wave of COVID cases.

Meanwhile, Tuesday’s business confidence data and Wednesday’s consumer confidence data will also depict the level of sentiment that underpins key areas of the economy such as investment and consumer spending.

Overseas, the US market will be closed on Monday, while the highest profile data for the week is set to be the latest reading on inflation. In China, exports and imports data will be released later today, which could prove price-sensitive for some of the ASX’s resource companies, particularly iron ore exporters like Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG).


ASX major movers

It is likely that all eyes will focus on the buy-now pay-later segment once again, in addition to the broader tech segment. Shares from the BNPL segment were hammered last week on the back of news that PayPal would launch its own pay in four product and effectively compete with existing incumbents such as Afterpay (ASX: APT), Sezzle (ASX: SZL) and Zip Co (ASX: Z1P). Adding to the mix will be the debut of Laybuy (ASX: LBY), which lists on the ASX today after raising $80 million via IPO.

There may also be some extra attention focused on shopping centre REITs such as Scentre Group (ASX: SCG) and Stockland Corporation (ASX: SGP), as well as retail stocks, in the wake of the extended lockdown announced in Melbourne yesterday. Brick and mortar retailers are among those which will be subject to several more weeks of restricted trading.

Elsewhere, Ampol (ASX: ALD), ASX (ASX: ASX), IOOF Holdings (ASX: IFL) and Sonic Healthcare (ASX: SHL) all trade ex-dividend today. They will be followed by a host of other stocks to trade ex-dividend in the coming days this week, including but not limited to BlueScope Steel (ASX: BSL), Northern Star Resources (ASX: NST), Origin Energy (ASX: ORG), Brambles (ASX: BXB), CSL (ASX: CSL) and South32 (ASX: S32).

In terms of shares posting new highs and lows, De Grey Mining (ASX: DEG) chalked up a 52-week high last week, while Telstra (ASX: TLS) plunged to a 52-week low, having failed to find any sort of stability in the wake of its disappointing earnings results back in mid-August.


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