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ASX 200 Weekly Wrap: ASX back in the green

ASX 200 weekly wrap represented by wooden block letters spelling out 'recap
Image source: Getty Images

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) decisively shook off the wobbles and was well and truly back in the green last week.

After smashing the previous 6-week winning streak with a week of volatility and heavy selling activity over the prior week, last week was a healthy return to form for the ASX 200 – making it 7 out of 8 weeks of gains as we start another week anew.

The week began with news that the United States Federal Reserve has initiated an unprecedented purchasing program for corporate bonds on the secondary market. This new wave of central bank intervention saw a massive shift in sentiment for both US and ASX shares that carried through the week.

But it wasn’t the blue chips that were in the ASX 200 driving seat. Instead, it was retail and tech shares that were making waves.

ASX 200 retail and tech shares shine

Some surprisingly positive retail sales figures were released to the market on Friday, which showed that retail sales during the month of May surged 16.3% to $4.03 billion – the largest increase in 36 years. This is obviously fantastic news for both the struggling retail sector and the broader economy.

As a result (and as you would expect), most ASX retail shares had an impressive day on Friday. Some noteworthy performers included Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES), JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH), Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX: HVN) and, in particular, Adairs Ltd (ASX: ADH) and Nick Scali Limited (ASX: NCK), which were up 10.53% and 19.65% respectively over Friday’s trading.

For less obvious reasons, ASX tech shares also had a top week. Appen Ltd (ASX: APX) was a standout performer, despite no major news of significance coming out of the dataset provider. In fact, Appen shares were up close to 14% last week alone and hit a new, all-time high of $34.03 on Friday. Appen shares are now up 115% since March. Also in the ASX tech space, Xero Limited (ASX: XRO), WiseTech Global Ltd (ASX: WTC) and (of course) Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT) also had strong weeks.

How did the markets end the week?

It was a tale of two markets on the ASX last week. On the surface, the ASX 200 started the week off at 5,847.8 points and finished at 5,942.6 points – a 1.6% bump for the week.

Monday was all about the bears. The ASX 200 lost a hefty 2.2% that day and looked in danger of breaching the 5,700 point threshold. But then we heard from the US Fed overnight and everything changed. Tuesday saw one of the best days in recent months with a 3.9% surge. This was followed up on Wednesday by another 0.8% rally tempered with Thursday’s cool-off that gave us a 0.9% drop. Friday was a dramatic day which saw ASX 200 shares spike early above a 1% gain, which was then whittled away until we were left with a mere 0.1% gain for the day. All in all, it was a very unpredictable week!

Meanwhile, the All Ordinaries (INDEXASX: XAO) also had a topsy-turvy week, but managed to eke out a 1.7% gain.

Which ASX 200 shares were the biggest winners and losers?

Let’s now brew a pot of tea and have a look at which ASX 200 shares were the week’s biggest winners and losers on the Foolish gossip pages. As always, let’s start with the losers:

Worst ASX 200 losers

 % loss for the week

Pilbara Minerals Ltd (ASX: PLS)

(16.13%)

Mayne Pharma Group Ltd (ASX: MYX)

(14.63%)

Orora Ltd (ASX: ORA)

(12.17%)

Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG)

(6.89%)

Taking out the wooden spoon last week was lithium miner Pilbara Minerals – a company that hasn’t delivered too much joy to its investors for a few years now. Pilbara shares slumped over 16% last week after the miner was kicked out of the ASX 200 Index. Pilbara shares remain more than 50% below where they were trading at this time last year.

The same fate as Pilbara awaited Mayne Pharma last week, whilst Orora’s slump can be attributed to the company’s shares going ex-dividend last week.

Lastly, Fortescue is a rare sight in the losers column these days. It’s possible that some investors were looking to take some profits off the table. This mining giant has made several new, all-time highs in recent weeks and is still up nearly 28% year to date.

With the losers out of sight and mind, let’s take a look at which ASX shares were making investors happiest last week:

Best ASX 200 gainers

 % gain for the week

Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals Limited (ASX: CUV)

21.3%

Healius Ltd (ASX: HLS)

19.76%

Appen Ltd (ASX: APX)

14.68%

Viva Energy Group Ltd (ASX: VEA)

13.92%

Clinuvel Pharma continued its massive run of recent months, taking out top spot with a 21.3% gain. This doesn’t appear to have been catalysed by anything of substance, although the shares have been strongly in favour since March, more than doubling in value since then.

Helius was in the spotlight after announcing the sale of its medical centres arm. Clearly investors approved of the company using the proceeds to pay down debt.

We’ve already discussed the positivity surrounding ASX tech shares like Appen, but Viva Energy surprised investors with upbeat guidance for the first half of the year. Investors always love to be pleasantly surprised, after all.

What is this week looking like for the ASX 200?

Last week demonstrated (yet again) how much of an impact the monetary policy of the United States can have on our markets. We were seemingly heading for a nasty week before the Fed (literally) intervened.

This week, I’m keeping my eye on the worrying possibility of another outbreak of coronavirus infections in Victoria and elsewhere across the country. This could have a significant impact on investors’ confidence this week, so I think it’s a situation well worth keeping an eye on. It’s also an unfortunate reminder that we’re not out of the woods with this pandemic just yet.

Before we begin it though, here’s a snapshot of how the major ASX blue chips are looking:

ASX 200 company

Trailing P/E ratio

Last share price

52-week high

52-week low

CSL Limited (ASX: CSL)

44.88

$288.25

$342.75

$210.25

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA)

12.46

$68.68

$91.05

$53.44

Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC)

13.64

$18.17

$30.05

$13.47

National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX: NAB)

16.76

$18.67

$30.00

$13.20

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

12.77

$18.75

$28.95

$14.10

Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW)

18.19

$36.55

$43.96

$32.12

Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES)

22.37

$43.14

$47.42

$29.75

BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) 12.98

$35.01

$42.33

$24.05

Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO)

13.59

$96.28

$107.94

$72.77

Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL)

18.76

$16.68

$18.09

$12.91

Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS)

18.40

$3.19

$4.01

$2.87

Transurban Group (ASX: TCL)

179.30

$15.16

$16.44

$9.10

Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd (ASX: SYD)

33.81

$6.05

$9.30

$4.37

Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM)

28.32

$29.85

$38.87

$20.70

Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL)

41.10

$21.88

$37.50

$14.93

Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG)

14.30

$121.53

$152.35

$70.45

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

  •     S&P/ASX 200 (XJO) at 5,942.60 points
  •     All Ordinaries (XAO) at 6,061.6 points
  •     Dow Jones Industrial Average at 25,871.46 points after falling 0.8% on Friday night (our time)
  •     Gold (Spot) swapping hands for US$1,743.95 per troy ounce
  •     Iron ore asking US$103.04 per tonne
  •     Crude oil (Brent) trading at US$41.92 per barrel
  •     Crude oil (WTI) going for US$39.43 per barrel
  •     Australian dollar buying 68.16 US cents
  •    10-year Australian Government bonds yielding 0.85% per annum

Foolish takeaway

As we start yet another week, we’re all keeping our fingers crossed that the success Australia has had in fighting the coronavirus continues on its current trajectory. We all knew from the start that this fight wasn’t to be quick or easy and last week we got another uninvited reminder of this. That’s why I think investing with a long-term mindset is more important than ever. So as always, 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 CSL Ltd., WiseTech Global, and Xero. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Macquarie Group Limited and Telstra Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of AFTERPAY T FPO, Appen Ltd, COLESGROUP DEF SET, Transurban Group, Wesfarmers Limited, and Woolworths 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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