The ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) was eventful this week. Here are four big stories you may have missed that affected the ASX 200 index:
House prices keep falling
Australian house prices continue to fall, with national house prices dropping by 0.6% in just March 2019 alone.
Investors are raising questions about what this might mean for the share prices of ASX banks like Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) as well as consumer-facing ASX shares like JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH) and Nick Scali Limited (ASX: NCK).
Businesses driving towards a merger?
The share prices of both businesses rose in response to the idea, there could be a lot of useful synergies if the companies combine. The initial estimate is $13.5 million in annual cost savings per year.
Massive shareholder returns
Supermarket giant Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) has completed the sale of its Petrol business to EG Group.
Management plan to return that money to shareholders in the form of a $1.7 billion off-market buyback on 16 April 2019. Don’t forget, $1.4 billion has already been paid to shareholders this financial year.
Not plain sailing for the supermarket giants
Not only is Woolworths’ supermarket business facing pressure, but Big W is also having its own troubles. Management plan to close around 30 Big W stores, as well as two distribution centres, over the next few years.
Woolworths is showing that it faces stiff product pricing problems at both the customer and supplier ends of the chain. These ASX blue chips could be better to own instead of Woolworths.
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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended COLESGROUP DEF SET. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.