The local market gained ground this week, shaking off another round of volatile trading sessions to end the week on 7,320.10 points, up 1.9%. Energy shares and utilities stocks led the ASX, while tech staged a rebound as the US Senate passed a short-term increase to the debt limit.
Which shares excelled?
A little more than a week after lithium-sulphur battery tech firm Li-S Energy (ASX: LIS) made its debut on the ASX, it finished the week as one of the best-performing mid-to-large-cap stocks, up nearly 30%.
Elsewhere, gold stocks bounced back from a string of poor showings, with the sector finally seeing a bit of love after being on the outer in recent weeks. Ironically, the price of the precious metal was actually lower across the course of the trading week, with currency headwinds also impacting local producers.
Nonetheless, as volatility hit global equities, and plenty of uncertainties fresh in the minds of investors who might be feeling a market correction could be on the cards, gold stocks performed well. Some of the highlights this week included second-tier producers such as De Grey Mining (ASX: DEG), West African Resources (ASX: WAF), Ramelius Resources (ASX: RMS), Silver Lake Resources (ASX: SLR), St Barbara (ASX: SBM) and Gold Road Resources (ASX: GOR).
Of the above, De Grey Mining captured the most interest, climbing more than 30% as the company announced a positive scoping study, which is now at the heart of the company’s decision to advance to the pre-feasibility stage for its Mallina gold project. The company also published gold drilling results that delighted shareholders.
Another name on the march higher this week was Singapore manganese and silicon metals company OM Holdings (ASX: OMH). The company updated investors earlier in the week regarding an “unprecedented increase in international prices for ferrosilicon (FeSi)”, which it produces via its significant ownership stake in the Sarawak Smelter Plant in Malaysia. Prices for FeSi have more than doubled since the end of the first half of the year, hitting US$4,150 per metric tonne.
For the third time in as many weeks, shares in Yancoal (ASX: YAL) performed strongly, leaping around 20%, and this time brought positive sentiment to its peer in Coronado Global Resources (ASX: CRN). As we’ve documented over the last month, coal prices have been on a tear hitting new records, with China unable to currently source enough supply. Throughout the week, Yancoal shares touched a two-year high, with momentum remaining in lock-step with the coal market.
Nick Scali (ASX: NCK) announced settlement for its acquisition of sofa retailer Plush-Think Sofas, which buoyed shareholders in the company. Before synergies and other benefits, the combined entity represents pro-forma revenue of $533 million for FY21, and underlying EBITDA of $153 million. Management of NCK expect the deal to be EPS accretive in the first full year of ownership.
There were also strong performances from other consumer retail names, including Collins Foods (ASX: CKF), which wrapped up a corporate franchise agreement for KFC Netherlands, and Super Retail Group (ASX: SUL).
Rounding out the winners list this week were Worley (ASX: WOR), AGL Energy (ASX: AGL), QBE Insurance (ASX: QBE), IOOF Holdings (ASX: IFL) and Jervois Mining (ASX: JRV).
Which shares dragged on the market?
They may have been star performers in recent weeks, but this week saw lithium and battery metals stocks take a backwards step. That development came as the market sold-off growth names earlier in the week, spooked by rising Treasury yields and with the Nasdaq taking a beating before reversing course. In turn, shares in Novonix (ASX: NVX), Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX: VUL), Sayona Mining (ASX: SYA) and AVZ Minerals (ASX: AVZ) found themselves under pressure, although they found more steady footing to end the week.
An unfavourable regulatory update hit EML Payments (ASX: EML), with the payments solutions provider sinking around 13% today alone. After Thursday’s trading session the company announced that its high-profile Irish-based subsidiary PFS Card Services (PCSIL) received concerns from the Central Bank of Ireland surrounding its material growth policy and remediation plan. The authority has proposed limits for PCSIL’s programs, which could mitigate growth across EML Payment’s European operations.
After wrapping up its Share Purchase Plan (SPP), shares in enterprise insurance software firm Fineos Corporation (ASX: FCL) tumbled around 7% for the week. The company secured $3.7 million in additional funds from retail holders, complementing the $70 million it raised from institutions via a placement at the start of September.
The shift to risk-off sentiment earlier in the week also hit a number of market darlings when growth names tumbled in line with a sell-off across tech and the like. Whereas a large number of tech names were able to bounce back, following in the footsteps of the Nasdaq index, it was a contrasting scene for ASX shares like Kogan (ASX: KGN), Nanosonics (ASX: NAN) and Mesoblast (ASX: MSB), which all pulled back by mid single-digit percentages amid selling pressure.
There were also notable setbacks for a number of other stocks including Sealink Travel Group (ASX: SLK), Pact Group Holdings (ASX: PGH), Dubber (ASX: DUB), and Imugene (ASX: IMU).
We’ll be back next week with another Weekly ASX Trading Wrap Up – until then, have a great week!
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