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ASX 200 Weekly Wrap: ASX starts May with a slide

share price falling
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It was another week of polar contrasts on the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) this week.

From Monday through to Thursday, the bullish sentiment that led ASX shares to a record month in April was in full control, propelling the ASX 200 in a repeat of the momentum we saw throughout the month of April.

But it was a different story on Friday.

On Friday morning, we found out that more than 30 million Americans have now filed for unemployment benefits – yet another sad reminder of the economic and social costs of the coronavirus shutdowns.

This weak economic data from the States stopped the bulls in their tracks. After falls on Wall Street during Thursday night (our time), the ASX whiplashed on Friday with a heavy 5.1% loss. But in the end, it wasn’t enough to erase the week’s total gains – by closing bell on Friday, the ASX 200 still managed to eke out a minuscule 0.057% gain for the week.

But US economic data wasn’t all that dominated the week’s ASX news.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) reported its half-yearly results on Thursday and (as was expected by most), the result wasn’t pretty. Profits after tax were down 51% to $1.55 billion and the bank’s interim dividend has been ‘deferred’ until there is greater clarity surrounding the current economic climate.

Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL) and Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) also reported their own results and wowed investors with an (unprecedented in modern times) 12.9% and 11.3% respective rise in sales for the March quarter.

But let’s have a look at how the markets tracked as the week progressed.

How did the markets end the week?

As mentioned above, the ASX had something of a mixed bag last week. Monday started strongly with a 1.4% rise. Tuesday recorded a small loss but was for all intents and purposes flat. Wednesday saw another healthy rise of 1.05%, whilst the ASX fires relly got going on Thursday with a 2.5% rise.

But then came Friday, and investors weren’t having a bar of Thursday’s optimism. The ASX 200 fell from 5,522.4 points to finish the week at 5,245.9 points. Seeing as the index started the week at 5,242.6 points – this translates into a 0.057% gain for the week.

Meanwhile, the ALL ORDINARIES (ASX: XAO) started the week at 5,300 points and finished up on Friday at 5,325 – marking the week’s gains at 0.47%.

Which ASX shares were the biggest winners and losers?

Let’s now take a glance at this week’s winners and losers, as judged by the fires of Friday. As always, we like to get the losers out of the way first:

Worst ASX losers

 % loss on Friday

Austal Limited  (ASX: ASB)

19.94%

Monadelphous Group Limited (ASX: MND)

14.60%

Virgin Money UK (ASX: VUK)

12.35%

GPT Group  (ASX: GPT)

9.93%

Star Entertainment Group Ltd (ASX: SGR)

9.90%

As is plain to see, shipbuilder Austal got the ASX wooden spoon on Friday. Investors were understandably disappointed when Austal was overlooked for a multi-billion dollar U.S. Navy contract, which instead went to an Italian firm.

The engineering company Monadelphous Group fell after reporting that it’s experiencing problems connected with the coronavirus shutdowns, while National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB)’s old flame Virgin Money (formerly known as Clydesdale Bank) was caught up in ASX banking woes.

Best ASX gainers

 % gain on Friday

Janus Henderson Group (ASX: JHG)

8.17%

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp Ltd (ASX: FPH)

4.90%

ResMed Inc (ASX: RMD)

3.25%

Blackmores Limited (ASX: BKL)

1.06%

Nextdc Ltd (ASX: NXT)

0.90%

As you can see, the standout performer on Friday was British asset manager Janus Henderson Group. This can be fairly easily explained by the 15% rise in profits for the March quarter it reported this week. Despite these gains, Janus Henderson shares remain down over 30% from the highs we saw in February – a trend seen amongst many other companies in the asset management space.

Healthcare companies ResMed and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare also remained on the winning boards this week. As companies directly involved in the production of ventilator equipment, investors have been enthusiastic about both companies in recent weeks. Indeed, ResMed reported a 16% increase in revenue for the March quarter on Friday.

What is this week looking like for the ASX?

You’d have to say that the start of this week isn’t looking quite as rosy as last week’s Monday morning. After the ASX’s largest fall in over a month on Friday, it will be telling whether the markets rush to hit the reset button or further the selling pressure we saw build last week when the bell rings this morning.

In an ominous sign, the US Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.55% on Friday night (our time), so this will undoubtedly be weighing heavily on investors’ minds as well. Also noteworthy over stateside was market darling Amazon.com Inc. It fell over 7% on Friday night on the back of some disappointing results.

Back home and we’re kicking off the week with a bang with the release of the Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) half-year report today. All eyes will be on the dividend (or potential lack thereof) after the mixed bag we’ve already seen from ANZ and NAB.

The Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT) share price will also be on watch today as it was revealed over the weekend that Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings has acquired a ~5% stake in the buy-now, pay-later giant.

Before we go, here’s how the major ASX blue-chips are looking as we start a new week:

ASX company

P/E ratio

Last share price

52-week high

52-week low

CSL Limited (ASX: CSL)

43.85

$298.76

$342.75

$189.14

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA)

10.67

$58.84

$91.05

$53.44

Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC)

8.09

$15.34

$30.05

$13.47

National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB)

14.48

$16.14

$30.00

$13.20

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ)

7.39

$15.75

$29.30

$14.10

Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW)

17.15

$34.45

$43.96

$30.09

Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES)

18.84

$36.33

$47.42

$29.75

BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP)

10.43

$29.84

$42.33

$24.05

Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO)

10.99

$82.59

$107.79

$72.77

Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL)

17.03

$15.14

$18.09

$11.76

Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS)

17.25

$2.99

$3.95

$2.87

Transurban Group (ASX: TLC)

156.83

$13.26

$16.44

$9.10

Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd (ASX: SYD)

32.14

$5.75

$9.30

$4.37

Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM)

22.49

$25.15

$38.87

$20.70

Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL)

37.41

$21.13

$37.55

$14.93

Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG)

10.20

$96.92

$152.35

$70.45

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

  •     S&P/ASX 200 (XJO) at 5,245.9 points
  •     ALL ORDINARIES (XAO) at 5,325 points
  •     Dow Jones Industrial Average at 23,723.69 points
  •     Gold (Spot) is swapping hands for US$1,698.40 per troy ounce
  •     Iron ore is asking US$82.45 a tonne
  •     Crude oil (Brent) is trading at US$26.44 a barrel
  •     Crude oil (WTI) is going for US$19.78 a barrel
  •     Australian dollar buying 64.18 US cents

Foolish Takeaway

No matter what happens this week, I think it’s important to remember not where our economy was in February, nor where it is now, but where it might be by May next year or by May 2030.

Looking at the price of ASX shares today through that lens can only lead to prosperous investing in my view. So remember friends, stay safe, stay rational, and stay Foolish!

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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 Austal Limited and CSL Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Blackmores Limited, Macquarie Group Limited, and Telstra Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of AFTERPAY T FPO, COLESGROUP DEF SET, Transurban Group, Wesfarmers Limited, and Woolworths Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended ResMed Inc. 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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