The ASX recorded modest gains last week with the S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) up 2%. With reporting season in full swing, the financial impact of the pandemic is being laid bare in profit and loss statements. Some companies have fared better than expected while others have benefitted from social changes wrought by the pandemic.
The share market rallied on Friday with resilient results from National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) pushing the big banks higher. NAB gained 7.4% last week, while Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) gained 7.6% and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ASX: ANZ) rose 5.6%. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) climbed a comparatively measly 0.3% after revealing an 11.3% decline in cash profits and slashing its dividend during the week.
Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT) rose to a new record high of $75.80 during the week, taking its gains since the March low to more than 750%. Mesoblast Limited (ASX: MSB) also hit a record high during the week after an advisory committee voted in favour of granting FDA approval for its treatment for graft versus host disease. On that note, let’s take a look at some of the best performing shares on the ASX last week.
Phoslock Environmental Technologies Ltd (ASX: PET)
The Phoslock share price gained 20.51% last week to finish the week at 24 cents. The share price was recovering from a steep drop the week before when it fell to 20 cents after revealing a drop in revenues. Phoslock provides a unique water treatment developed by the CSIRO that removes excess phosphate from water. Phosphate is a key nutrient that causes damaging algal blooms. Phoslock’s technology is used to manage unhealthy waterways and promote healthy aquatic environments.
Phoslock advised that flooding and COVID-19 have impacted on key projects in China and Europe. Nonetheless, Phoslock believes delayed projects will continue in due course and says its pipeline remains strong with a current contract value of $380 million. Many projects have been unaffected by disruptions, including the South Beijing canals. A trial has commenced on an area of Utah Lake in the United States, adding to Phoslock’s strong portfolio of treatments in the region. This provides a positive basis for confidence in developing US activity.
Lovisa Holdings Ltd (ASX: LOV)
The Lovisa share price gained 18.23% last week to close the week at $7.33. There was no news out of the fast-fashion jewellery and accessories retailer to prompt the price rise, with full year results due on 26 August. Lovisa has been forced to close 30 stores across Melbourne due to stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions. 19 stores in California and 2 stores in New York are also closed. Investors may be taking heart from the fact that all other Lovisa stores globally are open and trading, in addition to online stores around the world.
Disruption to normal trading conditions throughout Q4 resulted in a significant reduction in sales for the period. Sales revenue for the full year ended 28 June 2020 was $237 million compared to $249 million in FY19. Comparable store sales for the period between stores reopening and the end of June were down 32.5%, with lowered demand for fashion accessories as people spend more time at home. Nonetheless, the online business was able to deliver 256% growth over the prior year during Q4, with trading websites now operational across most markets the company is represented in.
Treasury Wine Estates Ltd (ASX: TWE)
The Treasury Wine Estates share price climbed 17.58% last week to finish the week at $12.84. The share price was boosted on Thursday by the release of better than expected full year results as the company resets for the next phase of its journey. NPAT fell 25% to $315.8 million with earning per share down 26% to 43.9 cents. The result was driven by unfavourable volume and portfolio mixes during 2H FY20 resulting from COVID-19 impacts. Luxury sales were lower due to the closure of key channels and conditions in the US wine market were challenging.
Treasury Wine declared a final dividend of 8 cents per share. Full year dividends of 28 cents per share were down 26% on the previous year. CEO Tim Ford said, “FY20 was a unique year for TWE, our industry and the markets within which we operate. Our ability to navigate the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to deliver profitability and strong cash flow performance is representative of the fundamental strength of our global business.”
Accent Group Ltd (ASX: AX1)
The Accent Group share price rose 17.05% last week to close the week at $1.54. There was no news out of the footwear retailer to prompt the price rise, however investors may be buying ahead of expected strong full year results which are due for release on 26 August. Accent Group has advised it expects to report a strong result with FY20 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) expected to be around 10% above the $108.9 million achieved in FY19. This is particularly impressive given the retailer was forced to close physical stores in Australia and New Zealand during lockdowns.
Digital sales have surged since the onset of the pandemic, with Accent Group reporting a 150% increase in online sales between April and June. May was a record month for the digital channel with a new daily record of over $2 million during Click Frenzy. This was achieved at the same time as stores were open and trading. In June, digital sales represented 23% of total sales. Accent Group has built digital infrastructure that has ensured record customers and deliveries could be managed with significant capacity and scalability still available.
CEO Daniel Agostinelli said, “The strong trading performance over the last 2 months driven by digital has been well ahead of expectations. It is clear that there has been a seismic and most likely enduring shift in consumer behaviour. With 18 websites and a leading digital capability Accent Group is capitalising on this trend. We will continue to drive digital growth as the number one priority in our company.”
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Motley Fool contributor Kate O'Brien has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Treasury Wine Estates Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of AFTERPAY T FPO. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Accent Group. 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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