There was the usual end of month, quarter, half-year and financial year window – dressing, tax selling and no doubt actual long term buying on the ASX yesterday.
The last session of the month, quarter, and financial year saw a confident tone after Wall Street’s COVID-ignoring bounce on Monday.
Analysts, traders and investors all talk about the games played on or around June 30 – and much of the moves are made in the days leading up to the day (options, futures etc), but the actual day always sees an intriguing trading pattern or two.
As it was, the upturn on Wall Street wasn’t quite enough to help the ASX recoup Monday’s losses, though Tuesday’s 1.4% rebound was a tasty end-for an otherwise dour financial year.
COVID-19 and the lockdowns saw the ASX 200 down 37% at the depths of the sell-off on March 23.
The benchmark ASX 200 added $25 billion in a session that lifted the index 82.9 points higher to 5897.9. That is roughly a thousand points less than the end of 2018-19 financial – or around 11.3% lower.
For the half-year the ASX 200 was off 11.6%, the quarter though saw a 16% plus rise, which petered out to a rise of just over 2% in June.
Only three sectors emerged ahead at the end of the financial year: Tech, health, and consumer staples. Of those, only tech stocks bettered their pre-COVID highs.
Market darling Afterpay Touch was the index’s biggest riser of the financial year, its share price rising 150% to $60.99. That surge is even more remarkable considering the company’s 80% plunge to $8.01 in March. It hit a record high of $62.33 this month.
Other tech sector risers for the financial year included Megaport, up 84.7% to $12.08, NextDC, up 51% to $9.88, and Xero, up 47.2% to $90.11.Big winners in that sector include medical device maker Fisher and Paykel, rising 124.2% to $32.84, Polynovo, up 67.7% to $2.54, and stem cell researcher Mesoblast up 128.9% to $3.25.
CSL shares were up a more sedate 31.6% to $287 valuing it at $132.9 billion. That’s still well short of BHP’s value of $168.4 billion. Rio Tinto was worth $132.8 billion.
Fisher and Paykel Healthcare is the most valuable Kiwi company at more than $NZ18.4 billion.
The consumer sector also performed strongly with supermarket giant Coles soaring 30.1% to $17.17, fuelled in part by a panic-buying sales surge. Rival Woolies saw its share rise a more sedate 13% in the past year.
Agribusiness Elders rose 51.1% to $9.42 as much-welcome rain-drenched swathes of drought-parched eastern Australia.
Among the miners Twiggy Forest’s Fortescue Metals rose 49.6% and hit an all-time high of $15.25 in early June.
Perseus Mining rose 140.4%, Silver Lake Resources soared 82% as global gold prices rose sharply this year and three times nudged the $US1,800 an ounce level.
Gold prices are up a quarter in US dollar terms in the past year.
Copper prices are up a quarter since the lows of March but only up just over 1% in the year to June 30. The surge since late March saw shares in OZ Minerals jump 49% (it’s also a gold miner) but they are only up 6% in the past year.
Shares in Newcrest, a bigger gold miner are up less than 0.2% in the past year but more than 36% in the past three months.
Building products group, James Hardie added 47% despite gloom about the outlook for building and construction in the US and Australia. Seven Group Holdings’ advance on Boral boosted its shares by more than 80% in the quarter, but are still down 26% for the financial year.
Travel firms Flight Centre, Webjet, and Corporate Travel Management dropped by 70.1%, 66.2%, and 57.4% respectively, crippled by the lockdowns, the pandemic, social distancing, and the end of mass travel for the time being.
That saw Virgin Australian Holdings collapse, so its shares are worthless and Qantas shares fell 30% over 2019-20 but are up 17% for the past quarter.
G8 Education shares slid almost 68%.
Domino’s Pizza gained 79% and JB Hi-Fi added 67.7%. Harvey Norman shares are up 20% in the quarter but still down 11% for the year.
Among the worst performers in the market were radio and regional television groups: Southern Cross Media shares in fell 80.7% to 17.5 cents. Nine Entertainment shares rose 20% in the March quarter but are down 29% for the financial year.
Seven West Media shares lost 79% and languish at just 9 cents. News Corp shares are up 30% in the past quarter but lost more than 15% over the year to the end of June.