A ‘crazy week’ that was worst for ASX since September

Derek Rose |

The Australian share market has suffered its longest weekly losing streak since the global financial crisis, as well as its biggest weekly drop in nearly six months, but has at least managed to claw back a bit of those losses.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished close to the highs of the day on Friday, up 29.3 points, or 0.42 per cent, to 6,994.8, while the broader All Ordinaries gained 35.6 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 7,188.3.

For the week the ASX200 was down 2.6 per cent, its worst weekly loss since the week ending September 23. The week was also its sixth consecutive week of losses, its longest weekly losing streak since a nine-week stretch in mid-2008 during the GFC.

“What a crazy week, honestly – and today has certainly been something of an anti-climax,” said IG Markets analyst Tony Sycamore.

He told AAP that he certainly would not have expected on Thursday that the European Central Bank would deliver a 50 basis point rate hike – as it did overnight – and that global markets would finish higher.

But Mr Sycamore noted the gains came after the bailout late Thursday of Credit Suisse by Switzerland’s central bank, as well as the overnight rescue of First Republic Bank by 11 Wall Street giants, who gave the mid-sized US bank a $US30 billion cash infusion at the behest of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

“We only have runs on banks if people are worried about there not being enough money to withdraw,” Mr Sycamore said. 

“What this does is it obviously shores up a lot of that confidence that was potentially still leaking through the cracks, and I think has gone a long way to stemming that fear, but we still need to get through the weekend… (traders) want to make sure there’s no more aftershocks that will ripple through the banking system.

“It’s almost like we’ve had a big party, and there’s a bit of a hangover going through. And we’re waiting to see what happens next week, and what the FOMC meeting will bring,” Mr Sycamore said, referring to the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee.

The US central bank will announce its latest decision on rate hikes at 5am on Thursday, Sydney time, with Mr Sycamore predicting that despite this week’s turmoil the Fed would stay the course and deliver another 25 basis point rate hike. A sudden pause would lead to people wondering, “hey, is there something else underneath the carpet, so to speak,” he said.

Eight of the ASX’s 11 sectors finished higher, with energy the biggest gainer, rising 2.3 per cent. Woodside gained 2.7 per cent and Santos added 1.6 per cent as Brent crude prices rose back above $US75 a barrel.

Property was the biggest loser, dropping 1.5 per cent with losses across the entire interest-rate-sensitive sector. Westfield owner Scentre Group fell 2.1 per cent, warehouse owner Goodman Group subtracted 1.3 per cent and diversified property trust GPT Group retreated 3.3 per cent.

The big banks all recouped some of this week’s losses, with CBA up 1.2 per cent to $96.45, NAB climbing 1.7 per cent to $28.28, Westpac adding 0.2 per cent to $21.24 and ANZ advancing 0.4 per cent to $22.81.

The heavyweight mining sector gained 0.4 per cent, with BHP flat at $43.39, Fortescue Metals up 1.8 per cent to $21.42 and Rio Tinto edging 0.1 per cent higher at $114.80.

Goldminers mostly lost ground as the price of the safe haven metal slid a bit from its six-week high of $US1,932 an ounce. Newcrest dropped 2.2 per cent and Northern Star fell 2.3 per cent.

But Kingsgate Consolidated soared 13.3 per cent to $1.71 after announcing that the Thai government had approved the reopening of its Chatree goldmine, six years after it was closed by the ruling junta.

Elsewhere, Neuren Pharmaceuticals gained 6.5 per cent to an all-time high of $13.23, having soared 72.5 per cent this week following a drug approval in the United States.

The Australian dollar was at close to a 10-day high against its US counterpart, buying 67.14 US cents, from 66.38 US cents at Thursday’s ASX close.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Friday up 29.3 points, or 0.42 per cent, at 6,994.8.

* The broader All Ordinaries 35.6 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 7,188.3.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 66.39 US cents, from 66.39 US cents at Thursday’s ASX close

* 89.22 Japanese yen, from 88.20 Japanese yen

* 62.99 Euro cents, from 62.60 Euro cents

* 55.18 British pence, from 54.99 pence

* 107.50 NZ cents, from 107.69 NZ cents