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ASX 200 Weekly Wrap: Gold miners help edge ASX ever higher

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has finished yet another week in the green, making this the third week in a row of ASX market gains.

A solid day of positive trading on Friday helped offset some of the weakness seen earlier in the week and led the ASX 200 to record a 0.25% gain for the week overall. Although it’s a rather inconsequential gain (meaning the ASX was pretty much flat for the week), psychology and sentiment are important factors to consider in the investing world!

Excitement over the lifting of coronavirus restrictions in several states was likely to be partly behind the market’s optimism, as was a surge in ASX resources shares late in the week. Although there were some negative developments over Australia’s relationship with China during the week, which included a flagging of restrictions for Australian beef and barley exports, this wasn’t enough to dent the ASX’s luke-warm enthusiasm.

It’s fair to say (in my opinion anyway) that the ASX 200 wouldn’t have broken even last week if it wasn’t for the massive surge we saw in ASX gold miners late in the week. The price of gold rallied last week, increasing from around US$1,697 per ounce on Monday to over US$1,750 an ounce by Friday (up around 3%). That was, of course, catnip for gold bug investors, who pushed the shares of ASX gold miners up dramatically on Thursday and Friday. Resolute Mining Limited (ASX: RSG) was the standout, up 14.2% for the week, but all ASX gold miners enjoyed healthy gains.

Of course, the other ‘big news item’ last week was Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA)’s long-awaited market update for its third-quarter. As the only ASX bank of the ‘big four’ that hasn’t yet had to front its investors ‘post-COVID19’, the market was eagerly awaiting some news. CBA reported a net profit for the quarter of around $1.3 billion and also announced a $1.7 billion sale of a 55% stake in wealth management business Colonial First State to private firm KKR. The markets weren’t really sure what to make of these announcements, with Commonwealth shares first dipping and then rallying on the news. The enthusiasm didn’t last past Wednesday, however, and Commonwealth shares ended the week slightly lower.

How did the markets end the week?

As discussed earlier, the ASX 200 had a relatively flat week – starting at 5,391.1 points and finishing the week 0.25% higher at 5,404.8 points.

Monday was the week’s best day with a 1.3% gain. Then we saw a 1.1% dip on Tuesday, followed by a mild gain on Wednesday and another big drop of 1.7% on Thursday. But in the end, it was the 1.4% gain on Friday that saved the ASX 200’s bacon for the week.

Meanwhile, the ALL ORDINARIES (ASX: XAO) also had a relatively flat week – starting at 5,488 points on Monday and finishing up at 5,492.8 points on Friday for a five-day gain of 0.08%.

Which ASX shares were the biggest winners and losers?

Let’s now get into the Fool’s equivalent of the ‘gossip pages’ and see which ASX shares were the week’s biggest winners and losers. As always, let’s start with the losers!

Worst ASX losers

 % loss for the week

Corporate Travel Management Ltd (ASX: CTD)

11.8%

Challenger Ltd (ASX: CGF)

10.9%

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX: URW)

10.4%

Jumbo Interactive Ltd (ASX: JIN)

9.8%

Most of this week’s losers would be familiar with their presence in this column by now.

Leading the pack with last week’s wooden spoon was embattled travel stock Corporate Travel Management, whose shares sunk nearly 12% despite no major news out of the company. Corporate Travel shares have more than doubled since the lows we saw in March, but are still down nearly 50% year-to-date.

Challenger was also in the wars last week, again despite no major news emanating out of the annuity provider. This company is especially vulnerable to low interest rates, so perhaps investors were spooked from the rumours last week that the Reserve Bank of Australia might have to adopt negative interest rates in tandem with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Challenger shares are also down close to 50% year-to-date.

Now that the losers are out of the way, let’s take a peek at last week’s winners!

Best ASX gainers

 % gain for the week

Pilbara Minerals Ltd (ASX: PLS)

19.5%

Southern Cross Media Group Limited (ASX: SXL)

18.5%

Resolute Mining Limited (ASX: RSG)

14.2%

Graincorp Limited (ASX: GNC)

9.2%

Although the spotlight was on gold miners on Friday, the biggest ASX winner last week was lithium miner Pilbara Minerals which ended the week with a 20% gain. There was no major news out of this resources stock either, but perhaps some value investors got a case of FOMO on Thursday when the stock hit 20 cents a share. Regardless of the cause, Pilbara was at 24 cents by Friday afternoon.

Southern Cross Media was another winner this week, with investors seemingly responding well to the company’s recent capital raising and a positive rating from a major broker. Advertisers have been hit hard by this crisis, but clearly the deep pockets of Mr Stokes are giving investors some confidence in Seven West.

As discussed above, Resolute Mining was the best performing ASX gold miner with a 14.2% surge last week. But Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) and Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) also had great weeks – boasting 9.5% and 7.75% gains, respectively. 

What is this week looking like for the ASX 200?

Well, the ASX 200 has now managed three weeks of gains in a row, so bulls will no doubt be hoping for a quadrilogy by the end of this week. But (as always during these uncertain times), we shall just have to wait and see if this eventuates.

There were clearly some market wobbles going on last week, so it is possible that the bears will regain the steering wheel this week. Particularly if there is any bad news (keep an eye on the China space) or if infections of coronavirus spike after lockdown restrictions are lifted (fingers crossed for the negative). 

Before we go, let’s have a look at how the major ASX 200 blue-chips are faring:

ASX company

Trailing P/E ratio

Last share price

52-week high

52-week low

CSL Limited (ASX: CSL)

44.16

$301.84

$342.75

$197.00

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA)

10.81

$59.60

$91.05

$53.44

Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX: WBC)

11.45

$15.26

$30.05

$13.47

National Australia Bank Limited (ASX: NAB)

13.87

$15.46

$30.00

$13.20

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ASX: ANZ)

10.51

$15.44

$29.30

$14.10

Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW)

17.50

$35.16

$43.96

$31.02

Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES)

19.65

$37.90

$47.42

$29.75

BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP)

11.02

$31.67

$42.33

$24.05

Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO)

11.31

$85.36

$107.99

$72.77

Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL)

17.11

$15.21

$18.09

$12.32

Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS)

18.29

$3.17

$4.01

$2.87

Transurban Group (ASX: TCL)

160.85

$13.60

$16.44

$9.10

Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd (ASX: SYD)

30.80

$5.51

$9.30

$4.37

Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM)

26.95

$30.23

$38.87

$20.70

Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL)

37.52

$21.26

$37.55

$14.93

Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG)

12.36

$105.08

$152.35

$70.45

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

  •     S&P/ASX 200 (XJO) at 5,404.8 points
  •     ALL ORDINARIES (XAO) at 5,492.8 points
  •     Dow Jones Industrial Average at 23,685.42 points
  •     Gold (Spot) swapping hands for US$1,740.51 per troy ounce
  •     Iron ore asking US$90.66 a tonne
  •     Crude oil (Brent) trading at US$32.50 a barrel
  •     Crude oil (WTI) going for US$29.52 a barrel
  •     Australian dollar buying 64.14 US cents
  •     10-year Australian Government bonds yielding 0.92% per annum

Foolish takeaway

We saw some very interesting things on the ASX this week, including gold riding to the ASX’s rescue on Friday to keep the winning streak alive. It’s a strange and crazy time to be an investor these days, that’s for sure. But as always, remember to drown out the white noise and negativity we are subjected to on a daily basis, and focus on the long-term. That’s what the best investors in the world do, and I think we can always find time to learn from the best!

But that’s all for now, fellow Fools. 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 and recommends Jumbo Interactive Limited. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of CSL Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Challenger Limited, Corporate Travel Management Limited, Macquarie Group Limited, and Telstra Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of COLESGROUP DEF SET, Transurban Group, Wesfarmers Limited, and Woolworths Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Jumbo Interactive 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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