While the Australian share market slipped to a negative result last month, it was the second month running where the ASX significantly outperformed regional markets, including each of the major US indexes.
As macroeconomic concerns prompted a sharp sell-off across growth stocks, the ASX 200 recorded a 0.9% decline for the month, but the relative outperformance was driven by the resilience of several major banks and health care names, which represent a large portion of the local share market by weight.
Stocks from the consumer staples, industrials, utilities and energy sectors also provided some respite, withstanding global markets’ turmoil and at one stage pushing the benchmark index within a whisker of an all-time high.
Here is what caught the eye of the Selfwealth community in April.
Which shares and ETFs are the most held?
CSL (ASX: CSL) and Westpac (ASX: WBC) traded places in second and third place respectively among the most-held stocks on the Selfwealth trading platform. While CSL eked out a 1.9% rise across the month, which in turn supported its growth across the community, Westpac shares ended the month down 1.5% as investors weighed up the risk of an economic slowdown as a rate hike cycle fast approaches.
Elsewhere, Wesfarmers (ASX: WES) and Flight Centre (ASX: FLT) both moved higher by a couple spots, landing in 12th and 18th respectively. The duo, both offering exposure to the consumer economy, albeit in different manners, have been slightly more shielded from negative sentiment directed at growth stocks, which has been a benefit for their rankings.
In the case of Flight Centre, shares in the travel operator actually spiked 14.7% in April as global airlines began pointing to robust demand for travel, and as more countries loosen COVID travel restrictions.
The iron ore majors retained their statuses as some of the favourite stocks on the ASX. That came despite Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) and BHP (ASX: BHP) struggling somewhat on the back of subdued quarterly production reports, as well as concerns about China’s ongoing lockdowns and what it means for iron ore appetite.
But it was a different story for Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG), with the miner upgrading its full-year production guidance when it handed down its quarterly report. Nonetheless, each of the trio’s juicy dividends have helped entrench their position in the portfolios of a large number of Selfwealth members across the platform.
And finally, AVZ Minerals (ASX: AVZ) is out after just one appearance, replaced by its peer in Core Lithium (ASX: CXO). Profit taking and risk-off sentiment weighed on AVZ shares to the tune of 20.2% last month, while Core Lithium managed to grind out a 1.5% gain after it acquired a new lithium project during the month.
|5||NAB||National Australia Bank|
|7||FMG||Fortescue Metals Group|
|8||AFI||Australian Foundation Inv|
|9||ANZ||Australia and New Zealand Banking Group|
For the second consecutive month, the list of the most-popular ETFs on the ASX remained unchanged. However, there were fund outflows among five of the top ten ETFs, primarily due to the slump in overseas equity markets.
With the most pronounced loss, the collective value of units in the Betashares Nasdaq 100 ETF (ASX: NDQ) fell 6.3%. This was far better than the 13.4% drop in the underlying Nasdaq 100 index, with the discrepancy attributable to Selfwealth members topping up their holdings on price weakness.
|1||VAS||Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF|
|2||VDHG||Vanguard Diversified High Growth Index ETF|
|3||VGS||Vanguard MSCI Index International Shares ETF|
|4||IVV||Ishares S&P 500 ETF|
|5||VTS||Vanguard U.S. Total Market Shares Index ETF|
|6||A200||BetaShares Australia 200 ETF|
|7||NDQ||Betashares Nasdaq 100 ETF|
|8||VEU||Vanguard All-World ex-U.S. Shares Index ETF|
|9||VHY||Vanguard Australian Shares High Yield ETF|
|10||DHHF||BetaShares Diversified All Growth ETF|
ASX share trading activity
While the Australian share market certainly held up better than its regional peers, there were some signs that a portion of the Selfwealth community is acting cautiously amid the current trading environment.
Popular stocks like Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG), Westpac (ASX: WBC), CSL (ASX: CSL) and Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) saw higher levels of selling activity than we’re normally accustomed to seeing over the long-term. In fact, each recorded a buy-to-sell ratio under 50%.
Meanwhile, there was a tilt towards buying activity in stalwart ETFs like the Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (ASX: VAS), where the ratio of buy orders to sell orders reached its highest level since November last year, coming in at 89%. When measured by the value of all orders filled, buy orders represented 74.8% of all trading activity.
Bank of Queensland (ASX: BOQ) featured among the most-traded ASX stocks for the first time ever. The regional bank traded lower by 6.3% across the course of the month, but the stock largely came to the attention of buyers as nearly two-thirds of trades skewed towards buying activity.
The lender reported its half-year results during the month, and while profits were higher on the back of lending growth and lower operating expenses, net interest margins were squeezed by 12 basis points. It may be that some Selfwealth members turned to the bank for exposure to its dividend, or due to the bank’s underperformance relative to its peers, and as a potential play on rising interest rates.
In terms of individual names flying somewhat under the radar, Sayona Mining (ASX: SYA) was the sixth most-traded stock last month by the total number of trades made. Shares in the emerging lithium producer rocketed higher by one-third across April, hitting a 52-week high on news of battery-grade test results for the spodumene produced at its Authier Lithium Project.
Also adding weight to the argument that lithium still remains a hot theme, we saw Core Lithium (ASX: CXO), Lake Resources (ASX: LKE), Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS) and AVZ Minerals (ASX: AVZ) entrench themselves among the list of the most-traded stocks by value. Buying activity continues to outweigh selling action across these stocks, which indicates a strong level of bullishness towards the sector given sell-offs across other growth segments on the ASX like tech.
Interest in lithium is also catching on among the likes of Latin Resources (ASX: LRS), Liontown Resources (ASX: LTR), Firefinch (ASX: FFX), Arizona Lithium (ASX: AZL) and Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX: VUL), which all trade heavily last month and featured in the top 20 stocks by trade numbers.
|Top 20 stocks traded by value|
|1||FMG||Fortescue Metals Group||45.1%|
|5||LNAS||ETFS Ultra Long Nasdaq 100 Hedge Fund||51.6%|
|6||VAS||Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF||74.8%|
|7||VGS||Vanguard MSCI Index International Shares ETF||74.8%|
|12||BBOZ||Betashares Australian Equities Strong Bear Hedge Fund||50.1%|
|14||SNAS||ETFS Ultra Short Nasdaq 100 Hedge Fund||48.8%|
|15||BOQ||Bank of Queensland||62.9%|
|16||VDHG||Vanguard Diversified High Growth Index ETF||80.9%|
|19||GEAR||BetaShares Geared Australian Equity (Hedge Fund)||51.8%|
That’s all for this Trade Trends report, stay tuned for the next edition this time next month!
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