The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has done it again, banking yet another week in the green to turn its 6-week winning streak into 7. The gains also helped the ASX 200 hit its highest level since the March share market crash. All of this was despite a nasty fall on Friday as the extent of the Sydney coronavirus cluster became clear.
So, it was a rather dramatic week on the share market last week. Friday saw the ASX 200 hit 6,756.7 points upon market open, a new post-March high watermark for the index. At that level, the ASX 200 was up 1% year to date, and up almost 47% since the March lows.
But that wasn’t the only high we saw last week. We also saw the Aussie dollar climb to a new 2½-year level last week when it reached as high as 76.4 US cents on Thursday night. Additionally, the cryptocurrency bitcoin also broke its all-time high, that was set back in 2017, last week. Highs all round, it seems.
Lockdowns and crushed dreams
In other news, we had some blockbuster moves on the markets last week. Perhaps most spectacular was the A2 Milk Company Ltd (ASX: A2M), shares in which plunged 23.64% on Friday to close the week at just $10.14 a share. The A2 Milk share price fell as low as $9.82 during the trading day as well. You have to go back to 2018 to find the last time A2 hit those levels (and that includes the March crash). The catalyst? An announcement the company released to the markets which updated A2’s guidance for FY2021. Apparently, the company has experienced a more severe than expected disruption in its ‘daigou’ product channels than previously anticipated.
We also had another dramatic move for Mesoblast Limited (ASX: MSB), shares of which crashed a colossal 36.07% on Friday. It was a disappointing update from its remestemcel-L product trial for treating COVID-19 that set investors off on that one. Unlike A2 though, as of Friday the Mesoblast share price is still well above its 52-week low of $1.02 we saw back in March.
ASX bank investors, however, were cheering last week. On Tuesday it was announced that the financial regulator APRA would be removing the cap on banks’ dividend payout ratios, which was previously restricted to 50% of earnings. That means the ASX banks should be able to increase their dividend payments in 2021 if all goes well.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the coronavirus news out of Sydney on Friday hit cyclical shares hard, especially (and somewhat predictably) those in the travel sector. Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) shares were down 3.53% on Friday, whilst Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd (ASX: SYD) shares were hit 2.88%.
How did the markets end the week?
The ASX 200 had a bumpy, but overall positive week last week. Monday saw a healthy 0.6% gain, whilst Tuesday saw that reversed with a 0.8% loss. Wednesday turned back to the green with another 0.9% gain, backed up on Thursday with another 1% on top. Friday saw a nasty drop of 1.2%, but it wasn’t enough to stop the ASX 200 making it 7 for 7. Since the index started the week at 6,642.6 points and finished up at 6,675.5 points, it ended up being a week-to-week gain of 0.5% overall.
Meanwhile, the All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO) started the week at 6,886.4 points and finished up at 6,924.1 points for a week-to-week gain of 0.55%.
Which ASX 200 shares were the biggest winners and losers?
Time now for some Foolish hot coffee whilst we salaciously dissect last week’s biggest winners and losers. As always, we’ll start with the worst-performing ASX 200 shares:
|Worst ASX 200 losers||% loss for the week|
|Mesoblast Limited (ASX: MSB)||(47.6%)|
|A2 Milk Company Ltd (ASX: A2M)||(22.4%)|
|Service Stream Limited (ASX: SSM)||(20.4%)|
|Avita Therapeutics Inc (ASX: AVH)||(13.8%)|
As we previously discussed, Mesoblast and A2 Milk took the two top spots last week. Mesoblast was particularly affected as the company, unfortunately, saw almost half of its entire valuation wiped out in just one week. It’s worth noting though that A2 Milk is still up more than 400% over the past 5 years alone, even after last week’s drop.
Network services provider Service Stream was out of favour due to a splitting of responsibilities in a new contract with the NBN. It seems the markets may have been expecting Service Stream to have all the services to itself.
And Avita was likely in the bad books due to its imminent removal from the ASX 200 Index, which is set to be completed today as the index is rebalanced.
With the losers out of the way, let’s now look at some of last week’s ASX 200 winners:
|Best ASX 200 gainers||% gain for the week|
|EML Payments Ltd (ASX: EML)||13%|
|Perseus Mining Limited (ASX: PRU)
|Megaport Ltd (ASX: MP1)||11.5%|
|Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT)||10.2%|
EML Payments was the big winner from last week, despite no major news out of the company. However, ASX records show that EML has been popular with fund managers, with one in particular picking up almost 4 million shares.
Gold miner Perseus was next up with a 12.5% swing to the green. Like most ASX gold miners, Perseus has been benefitting from a rising gold price of late, together with a stronger Aussie dollar.
And finally, we can’t go without mentioning Afterpay, which climbed to yet another record high last week of $123.40 a share. This company is benefitting from the same index rebalancing that was plaguing Avita. Unlike Avita though, Afterpay is today joining both the ASX 50 and the ASX 20 Indexes. That means a lot of institutional money is being unlocked for this company’s benefit. Even so, Afterpay did drop a hefty 7.5% on Friday. Volatility is never far away with this one.
What does this week look like for the ASX 200?
This week looks to be a quiet one on the anticipated news front for obvious reasons. The ASX will close early on Thursday at 2:40 pm, and will be shut on Friday for Christmas, and Monday for Boxing Day.
Before we go, here is a look at the major ASX 200 blue chip shares as we start on the penultimate week of 2020:
|ASX 200 company||Trailing P/E ratio||Last share price||52-week high||52-week low|
|CSL Limited (ASX: CSL)||47.32||$288.98||$342.75||$242.67|
|Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA)||20.34||$83.16||$91.05||$53.44|
|Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC)||31.23||$19.90||$25.96||$13.47|
|National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB)||21.54||$23.37||$27.49||$13.20|
|Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ASX: ANZ)||19.19||$23.24||$27.29||$14.10|
|Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG)||11.3||$22.91||$23.29||$8.20|
|Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW)||43.44||$39.99||$43.96||$32.12|
|Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES)||35.74||$51.21||$51.89||$29.75|
|BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP)||20.78||$43.15||$43.55||$24.05|
|Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO)||20.16||$117.53||$118||$72.77|
|Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL)||24.96||$18.30||$19.26||$14.01|
|Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS)||19.81||$3.03||$3.94||$2.66|
|Transurban Group (ASX: TCL)||–||$14.15||$16.44||$9.10|
|Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd (ASX: SYD)||97.31||$6.40||$8.98||$4.26|
|Newcrest Mining Ltd (ASX: NCM)||24.8||$27.28||$38.15||$20.70|
|Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL)||–||$23.64||$36.28||$14.93|
|Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG)||20.84||$137.96||$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 6,675.5 points.
- All Ordinaries Index (XAO) at 6,924.1 points.
- Dow Jones Industrial Average Index (DJX: .DJI) at 30,179.05 points after falling 0.41% on Friday night (our time).
- Gold (Spot) swapping hands for US$1,881.26 per troy ounce.
- Iron ore asking US$153.72 per tonne.
- Crude oil (Brent) trading at US$52.26 per barrel.
- Australian dollar buying 76.23US cents.
- 10-year Australian Government bonds yielding 0.99% per annum.
That’s all folks!
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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 EML Payments and MEGAPORT FPO. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of Avita Medical Limited and CSL Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended A2 Milk, 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 Avita Medical Limited, EML Payments, MEGAPORT FPO, and Service Stream Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.
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