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ASX 200 Weekly Wrap: ASX continues to climb, despite outage

rising asx 200 represented by people gathered in arrow shape
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The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) notched up another week of solid gains last week, pushing the index to its third week in a row of a finish in the green. Since the start of the month, the ASX 200 has added nearly 10%, meaning we are on track to see the best month for ASX 200 shares since April. Back then, the index was coming out of the coronavirus-induced freefall that we saw in March, making this month even more extraordinary. At the level the ASX 200 closed at on Friday afternoon (6,539 points), we are only 1.3% away from reaching the level the index began 2020 at, and 8.7% away from the all-time high of 7,162 points we saw in mid-February.

And all that was despite the… unexpected outage we saw in ASX trading on Monday.

ASX shutdown

Yes, the ASX was closed for the majority of trading on Monday, the first time the exchange has had to shut unexpectedly in years. In fact, after trading opened at 10am on Monday, investors were only treated to approximately 24 minutes of trading before the exchange was shut down by its operator ASX Ltd (ASX: ASX).

The cause? A system-wide IT glitch. As our in-depth coverage revealed at the time, the ASX attributed the system freeze to a new trading platform supplied by the United States Nasdaq exchange. The ASX has reportedly used this platform since January after extensive testing. The ASX said the issue appeared to have been caused by combination orders, which are normally used by large or institutional investors.

Even though trading resumed as normal on Tuesday without a hitch, the ASX is still in a lot of hot water over the issue. The company is currently being investigated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) over the incident, with ASIC releasing a statement that said the following:

ASIC is actively assessing ASX’s compliance with its market licence obligations and is considering further actions to ensure the adequacy of ASX’s human, financial and technological resources to operate its markets in an orderly manner.

ASIC isn’t the only government body to express concerns either. We also reported that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) weighed in on the outage, stating its “concern” over the incident.

Even so, the markets weren’t evidently as concerned as the regulators, since the ASX 200 promptly banked a 0.2% gain on Tuesday upon reopening. Speaking of…

How did the markets end the week?

The ASX 200 had a top week, rising from the 6,405.2 points it finished the prior week at to 6,539.2 points – a rise of 2.09%. Monday saw a healthy 1.24% gain in the 24 minutes it was open. Finally with a full day of trading under its belt on Tuesday, the ASX 200 gained the 0.21% we discussed earlier. Wednesday and Thursday backed these gains up with additional 0.51% and 0.25% rises respectively, with Friday delivering the only red day of the week with a 0.12% loss.

Meanwhile, the All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO) also had a top week, starting out at 6,609.3 points and finishing up at 6,739.9 points for a week-to-week gain of 1.98%.

Which ASX 200 shares were the biggest winners and losers?

In our most salacious segment, we look at the ASX shares that topped and bottomed the ASX 200 charts the previous week. So put the kettle on while we start with the worst-performing ASX 200 shares from last week:

Worst ASX 200 losers

 % loss for the week

Evolution Mining Ltd (ASX: EVN)

(8.85%)

Gold Road Resources Ltd (ASX: GOR)

(8.63%)

Silver Lake Resources Limited  (ASX: SLR)

(7.18%)

Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST)

(7.15%)

As you can see, all four of our losers last week were gold miners (despite the slightly misleading name ‘Silver Lake’). This is likely linked to the price of gold dropping like a nugget over the past fortnight or so. Remember, gold is the quintessential ‘safe-haven’ asset, which likely explains why gold is up more than 23% in price this year. However, the recent news of potentially successful coronavirus vaccines have left investors less partial to a safe haven asset of late, explaining why gold is down ~4.3% in the last 3 weeks. That has likely flowed into the valuations of the ASX gold miners, which is probably why we are seeing such a heavy sell-off in this sector.

Let’s now turn to last week’s winners:

Best ASX 200 gainers

 % gain for the week

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX: URW)

25.68%

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd (ASX: BEN)

14.54%

Alumina Limited(ASX: AWC)

12.83%

Mesoblast Limited (ASX: MSB)

12%

Making it 2 weeks in a row on the top of the table last week was real estate investment trust (REIT), Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. URW is likely to be continuing to benefit from optimism over a COVID-19 vaccine. Its malls across Europe have been hard hit by lockdowns in recent months. The URW share price is now up close to 50% over the past month.

ASX banks were all on fire last week, but Bendigo came out on top. The reasons for optimism in the banking sector are probably also related to vaccine news.

Alumina was being bought up despite no major news out of the resources company, whilst pharma company Mesoblast was in investors’ good books following an announcement of a partnership with Swiss giant Novartis (NYSE: NVS).

What does this week look like for the ASX 200?

We have a couple of notable events to keep an eye on this week. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp Ltd (ASX: FPH) is reporting a half-year result on Wednesday. Further, Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX: HVN) and WiseTech Global Ltd (ASX: WTC) are both holding their annual general meetings this week as well. I’m sure commentators and investors alike will find these companies’ guidances worth paying attention to.

Before we go, here is a look at the major ASX 200 blue chip shares as we start another week in paradise:

ASX 200 company

Trailing P/E ratio

Last share price

52-week high

52-week low

CSL Limited (ASX: CSL)

49.58

$313.53

$342.75

$242.67

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA)

19.56

$80

$91.05

$53.44

Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC)

31.25

$19.91

$26.10

$13.47

National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX: NAB)

20.95

$22.73

$27.49

$13.20

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

18.45

$22.34

$27.29

$14.10

Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW)

41.35

$38.07

$43.96

$32.12

Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES)

34.31

$49.16

$49.93

$29.75

BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) 16.80

$36.14

$41.47

$24.05

Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO)

16.47

$99.45

$107.79

$72.77

Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL)

24.52

$17.98

$19.26

$14.01

Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS)

20.21

$3.09

$3.94

$2.66

Transurban Group (ASX: TCL)

$14.97

$16.44

$9.10

Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd (ASX: SYD)

103.54

$6.81

$9.07

$4.26

Newcrest Mining Ltd (ASX: NCM)

24.66

$28.08

$38.15

$20.70

Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL)

$21.65

$36.28

$14.93

Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG)

20.65

$136.67

$152.35

$70.45

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

  • S&P/ASX 200 Index (XJO) at 6,539.2 points.
  • All Ordinaries Index (XAO) at 6,739.9.3 points.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average Index (DJX: .DJI) at 29,263.48 points after falling 0.75% on Friday night (our time).
  • Gold (Spot) swapping hands for US$1,870.82 per troy ounce.
  • Iron ore asking US$125.72 per tonne.
  • Crude oil (Brent) trading at US$44.96 per barrel.
  • Australian dollar buying 73.04 US cents.
  • 10-year Australian Government bonds yielding 0.86% per annum.

That’s all folks, see you next week!

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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. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Macquarie Group Limited and Telstra Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of COLESGROUP DEF SET, Transurban Group, Wesfarmers Limited, WiseTech Global, 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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