The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has completed yet another week defined by a new all-time high. The Aussie share market’s flagship index closed at 7,628.9 points on Friday afternoon after hitting the new all-time high watermark of 7,632.8 points earlier in the day.
This latest move is emblematic of the stellar 18 months or so the Australian share market has enjoyed. It’s difficult to imagine that the ASX 200 had a ‘4’ in front of it in March last year. And yet it did – meaning the ASX 200 has risen more than 60% from the lows we saw in March 2020. In 2021 alone, the ASX 200 is now up a healthy 14.13%. Normally, a return of that magnitude would be a bumper annual return. And yet we’ve hit that number with a third of the calendar year left to us.
But we digress.
So, last week was once again shaped by the August earnings season. On Monday, we heard from Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA), which really set the tone for the week. CBA delivered a bumper earnings report, which included a dividend increase and a $6 billion share buyback program. This was enthusiastically received by investors, who subsequently pushed the CBA share price to a new record high.
CBA’s big news, together with National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB)’s own quarterly report, helped all four major bank shares end the week sharply higher. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ASX: ANZ) rose 3.6%, NAB was up 3.8%, whilst Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) rose a robust 4.2%. Interestingly, CBA only finished the week up 0.3% after giving up its initial share price bump as the week progressed.
But while the banks were surging, that other large sector of the ASX 200 was going backwards. We’re talking about iron ore miners here of course. Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) led the sector’s losses with a week-to-week slide of 9.2%. This seemingly disastrous move is tempered by the fact that Rio went ex-dividend during the week for its monster interim and special US$9.1 billion shareholder payout (a share going ex-dividend is about the best reason for a share price drop there is).
But structural weakness in the entire iron ore sector didn’t help. Most of the ASX’s major miners also fell after the price of iron ore continued to slide. In addition to Rio’s big slide, Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) shares lost more than 3%.
How did the markets end the week?
The ASX 200 had a week of fairly spectacular gains last week. Monday saw things kick off with the index’s only loss for the week (0.02%). But Tuesday and Wednesday turned things around nicely with back-to-back gains of 0.32% and 0.29% respectively. But investors really stepped on the gas on Thursday, with a very healthy 3.9% gain that day. Backed up with Friday’s 0.54% gain, and we had a pretty good week by the end there.
Overall, the ASX 200 started off at 7,538.4 points and finished up at 7,628.9 points, marking this week’s overall move at a very robust 1.2%.
Meanwhile, the All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO) also had a week to remember and climbed to some new highs of its own. The All Ords started the week at 7,806.5 points and finished up at 7,897.7 points – a rise of 1.17%.
Which ASX 200 shares were the biggest winners and losers?
Time now for our most salacious segment, where we check out the ASX 200’s biggest winners and poorest losers of the week. So get tea and bikkies as we, as always, start with the losers:
|Worst ASX 200 losers||% loss for the week|
|Silver Lake Resources Ltd (ASX: SLR)||(11.1)|
|News Corporation (ASX: NWS)||(10.8%)|
|Champion Iron Ltd (ASX: CIA)||(8.1%)|
|Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO)||(7.5%)|
Our ASX 200 wooden spooner share for last week was gold miner Silver Lake. Gold miners like Silver Lake had a rough week last week as the gold price continued to slide. Most ASX gold miners fared poorly last week, but Silver Lake seems to have taken the brunt of investors’ disappointment.
Next up we had News Corp. This Murdoch-owned media giant saw its shares spike to a record high on Monday after the company impressed with its earnings report. However, it seems the markets subsequently got cold feet and left News shares at the altar. Even so, News is still up a very healthy 35.5% year to date in 2021.
And finally, we had two iron ore miners in Rio and Champion. As we earlier discussed, iron ore miners were also sold off following falling commodity prices. Rio had the additional aggravating factor of going ex-dividend too.
Now with the losers out of the way, let’s check out last week’s ASX 200 winners:
|Best ASX 200 gainers||% gain for the week|
|GrainCorp Ltd (ASX: GNC)||14%|
|PointsBet Holdings Ltd (ASX: PBH)||13.6%|
|QBE Insurance Group Ltd (ASX: QBE)||12.1%|
|Downer EDI Ltd (ASX: DOW)||12%|
So the best performing ASX 200 share last week was agricultural giant GrainCorp. GrainCorp rose an impressive 14% after the company updated its guidance for FY2021. Instead of the previously-flagged range of $255 to $285 million in earnings, GrainCorp is now expecting to haul in between $310 and $330 million.
Next up we had gaming company PointsBet, which was also up double-digits. This seemed to be a response to the company’s announcement the West Virginia Lottery Commission has granted PointsBet regulatory approval to host online sports betting in the small US state, which it will now do immediately.
Moving on to insurer QBE, and this company’s 12.1% gain seemed to be a reaction to QBE’s half-year earnings report delivered on Thursday. The company reported that revenues and profits were both up healthily, which enabled a big dividend increase.
And finally, we had the engineering company Downer EDI. Once again, Downer’s 12% rise appeared to be a consequence of its full-year earnings report. Downer managed to bring home a 21.4% rise in profits for FY2021, which understandably got investors a little hot under the collar.
A wrap of the ASX 200 blue-chip shares
Before we… wrap things up, here is a look at how the ASX 200’s blue-chip shares are faring as we start on yet another hot August week of earnings:
|ASX 200 company||Last share price||Trailing P/E ratio||Trailing Dividend Yield||52-week high||52-week low|
|CSL Limited (ASX: CSL)||$297.53||37.47||0.95%||$320.42||$242|
|Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA)||$104.03||22.1||3.36%||$109.03||$62.64|
|Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC)||$26.16||22.4||3.4%||$27.12||$16|
|Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ASX: ANZ)||$29.53||17.89||3.56%||$29.64||$16.40|
|National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB)||$27.70||21.26||3.25%||$27.84||$16.56|
|Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG)||$164.48||19.95||2.86%||$164.89||$118.36|
|Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG)||$22.30||7.95||11.08%||$26.58||$15.62|
|BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP)||$52.81||28.25||3.91%||$54.55||$33.73|
|Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO)||$120.36||7.68||7.53%||$137.33||$90.04|
|Newcrest Mining Ltd (ASX: NCM)||$25.19||15.45||1.73%||$35.10||$23.08|
|Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL)||$22.19||–||2.32%||$27.60||$16.80|
|Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS)||$3.96||26.57||4.04%||$4.02||$2.66|
|Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW)||$40.78||36.4||2.48%||$44.06||$35.96|
|Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES)||$65.12||39.27||2.53%||$65.30||$43.50|
|Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL)||$18.40||23.4||3.29%||$19.26||$15.28|
|Transurban Group (ASX: TCL)||$13.48||–||2.71%||$15.64||$12.36|
|Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd (ASX: SYD)||$7.75||–||–||$8.04||$5.07|
|Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT)||$132.01||–||–||$160.05||$69|
And finally, here is the lay of the land for some leading market indicators:
- S&P/ASX 200 Index (XJO) at 7,628.9 points.
- All Ordinaries Index (XAO) at 7,897.7 points.
- Dow Jones Industrial Average Index (DJX: .DJI) at 35,515 points after rising 0.04% on Friday night (our time).
- Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) going for US$45,963 per coin.
- Gold (spot) swapping hands for US$1,775 per troy ounce.
- Iron ore asking US$165.33 per tonne.
- Crude oil (Brent) trading at US$70.59 per barrel.
- Australian dollar buying 73.69 US cents.
- 10-year Australian Government bonds yielding 1.22% per annum.
That’s all folks. See you next week!