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ASX 200 Weekly Wrap: ASX bulls roar with 4th straight week of gains

share price higher

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) brought home the bacon last week with the 4th straight week of gains for Australian shares.

It’s been a remarkable 4 weeks at that. On 23 March, the ASX 200 bottomed at 4,546 points. On Friday, we saw the index close at 5,487.5 points – meaning that we are now 20.71% from these lows and back in bull market territory once more. It turned out to be the shortest bear market in ASX history.

We’ve seen some incredible volatility in the markets since mid-February, and are now starting to see a true V-shaped recovery. It sure is a remarkable point in the ASX’s history that we’re witnessing.

Positive news from the fight against the coronavirus underpinned shares last week, with Australia managing to keep new virus cases to under 50 per day on a fairly consistent level, helping boost confidence. Talk ‘around the watercooler’ now seems to be turning to when restrictions can be begun to be eased on social gatherings and commercial trading, which is obviously a source of optimism for markets.

Also injecting optimism into the markets last week was news that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has been tapering down its quantitative easing-style purchasing on Australian government bonds, which is now at the lowest levels since the RBA’s program commenced. This was a further sign of stability returning to financial markets last week.

How did the markets end the week?

The ASX 200 started Tuesday sitting at 5,387.3 points but ended Friday at 5,487.5 points – putting the ASX 200’s weekly gain at 1.86% over 4 days. Wednesday and Thursday saw the most weakness last week, whilst Tuesday and Friday saw the biggest days of gains.

Meanwhile, the ALL ORDINARIES (ASX: XAO) also banked a heathy gain last week, with a 1.93% swell.

Notably, last week also saw the price of gold reach new heights above US$1,750 per ounce – the highest level since November 2012.

Which ASX 200 shares were the biggest winners and losers?

Let’s take a look at which ASX shares were moving the markets on the last day of trading for the week.

Firstly, here are Friday’s losers:

Worst ASX losers

 % loss on Friday

Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd (ASX: CCL)

6.09%

Platinum Asset Management Ltd (ASX: PTM)

5.46%

Netwealth Group Ltd (ASX: NWL)

4.89%

Perenti Global Ltd (ASX: PRN)

4.02%

Gold Road Resources Ltd (ASX: GOR)

3.96%

As you can see, Coca Cola Amatil topped the losers last Friday with a 6.09% fizz out. Investors obviously found Amatil shares a little flat for their liking when the company advised the markets that first-quarter sales had experienced a significant slump. Cocoa-Cola is often considered a ‘defensive’ company, so this update was a bitter pill to swallow. The ongoing closure of restaurants, sports and hospitality businesses is likely behind this sales dip for Coke.

Embattled asset manager Platinum was also on the chopping block on Friday after a major broker cut their price target for Platinum shares. Clearly investors agree that the company could continue to see significant outflows of funds under management in 2020.

Now that the bad news is out of the way, let’s check out some of last week’s winners:

Best ASX winners

 % gain on Friday

Mayne Pharma Group Ltd (ASX: MYX)

9.09%

Stockland Corporation Ltd (ASX: SGP)

8.54%

Estia Health Ltd (ASX: EHE)

8.36%

Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd (ASX: SYD)

8.28%

Skycity Entertainment Group Limited (ASX: SKC)

8.11%

Mayne Pharmaceuticals was Friday’s big winner after the company announced it has submitted a new contraceptive drug for approval to the American Food and Drug Administration. Investors are clearly optimistic for Mayne’s chances of getting the green light for this one in what is a very lucrative product field.

Also making waves on Friday were the embattled Aussie REIT Stockland and Sydney Airport. Like most ASX REITs (real estate investment trusts), Stockland has suffered a brutal loss in confidence since the outbreak of the coronavirus has forced shopping centres to all but close their doors. Stockland’s share price has doubled since mid-March and is now above $3 – but remains a long way from February’s highs of over $5.

Meanwhile, Sydney Airport also had a strong Friday and left last week above $6 a share for the first time in over a month. Although there was no major news out of the infrastructure giant, Sydney Airport has still been of interest to buyers and last week’s moves show a tangible shift in sentiment, in my view.

An honourable mention also goes to Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT). Afterpay shares were up 6.3% on Friday and 20.33% for the week after the company released an extremely promising business update for its last quarter.

What is this week looking like for the ASX?

It remains a strange and crazy time to be investing in ASX shares, and this makes predicting what will happen next even more fraught than usual. The way we are going, we might see a 5th week of gains for the ASX 200 – but equally, we could see this streak end. As a Foolish investor, I myself am trying to be prepared for anything!

We’ll get to see the minutes of the RBA’s last meeting on Tuesday, so that will be one event to look out for. Investors will be undoubtedly keen to hear how our economy is tracking with this crisis in full swing, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a market reaction stem from this release.

We’ll also be hearing from Sydney Airport, BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) and South32 Ltd (ASX: S32) when they report their latest market updates, so stay tuned for those as well.

Before we go, let’s check out how some of the major ASX blue-chips are looking as we enter yet another wild week on the ASX:

ASX company

P/E ratio

Last share price

52-week high

52-week low

CSL Limited (ASX: CSL)

47.83

$328.42

$342.75

$189.14

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA)

11.08

$61.06

$91.05

$53.44

Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC)

8.37

$15.87

$30.05

$13.47

National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB)

9.42

$16.39

$30.00

$13.20

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ)

7.77

$16.56

$29.30

$14.10

Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW)

18.62

$37.40

$43.96

$30.09

Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES)

19.77

$38.12

$47.42

$29.75

BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP)

10.85

$31.28

$42.33

$24.05

Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO)

12.08

$91.51

$107.79

$72.77

Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL)

18.48

$16.43

$18.09

$11.76

Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS)

18.23

$3.16

$3.95

$2.87

Transurban Group (ASX: TLC)

155.88

$13.18

$16.44

$9.10

Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd (ASX: SYD)

35.10

$6.28

$9.30

$4.37

Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM)

25.36

$28.57

$38.87

$20.70

Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL)

37.04

$21.08

$37.55

$14.93

Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG)

10.56

$100.41

$152.35

$70.45

And finally, here is the lay of the land for some leading market indicators as well:

  •     S&P/ASX 200 (XJO) at 5,487.5 points
  •     ALL ORDINARIES (XAO) at 5,544.7 points
  •     Dow Jones Industrial Average at 24,242.49 points
  •     Gold (Spot) is swapping hands for US$1,683.38 per troy ounce
  •     Iron ore is asking US$84.35 a tonne
  •     Crude oil (Brent) is trading at US$28.08 a barrel
  •     Australian dollar buying 63.64 US cents

Foolish Takeaway

It is very comforting to see the ASX respond so positively for so long now in the midst of all this global upheaval. However, I would also urge caution.

We are far from out of the woods yet in terms of the coronavirus, and a strong case can be made that the ASX is right now pricing in the absolute best case of an economic V-shaped recovery. If this doesn’t turn out to be the case in the next few weeks and months, we could well see a return to more volatility.

But for now, enjoy the gains and stay safe, stay rational and stay Foolish as always!

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Sebastian Bowen owns shares of National Australia Bank Limited, Newcrest Mining Limited, and Telstra Limited. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of CSL Ltd. and Netwealth. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Macquarie Group Limited, Telstra Limited, and Transurban Group. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of AFTERPAY T FPO, COLESGROUP DEF SET, and Wesfarmers Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Sky City Entertainment Group Ltd. and Sydney Airport Holdings Limited. 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.

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