Overseas markets down with futures suggesting a reality check is imminent
After a rollercoaster ride last week when the S&P/ASX 200 (XJO) soared as much as 2.6% in one day, the index finished down 10 points on a week-on-week basis at 6024 points, having given up 70 points or nearly 1.2% on Friday.
From a broader perspective the week saw solid gains in the tech and consumer discretionary sectors, but the communications sector was hard hit, falling 2.3%.
Other features of the week were strong gains by gold miners as the precious metal pushed through the psychological US$1900 per ounce mark to register its highest close on record.
In relative terms, our market could still be seen as outperforming, having hit a four-month high despite the backdrop of a flailing economy and a rampaging coronavirus.
How long investors can remain buoyant remains to be seen, but the ASX SPI200 index suggests we could be in for a reality check this week, down 27 points this morning to 5972 points.
Adding to the likelihood of a downturn is the upcoming reporting season, which will no doubt reflect profound impact that coronavirus has had on the company earnings.
In most cases, blue-chip companies provide some form of qualitative or quantitative guidance for the upcoming fiscal year and share prices are often driven more significantly by this commentary, which on balance is likely to be fairly negative.
Aside from domestic issues, a significant downturn in overseas markets at the end of the week suggests that futures indicators could be a little conservative regarding the extent of a potential decline on Monday.
Geopolitical tensions between the US and China were central to the decline in global markets on Friday, and given recent posturing towards China by the Australian government the issues central to the ructions between the two countries could well have a significant impact on our markets.
The Shanghai Composite was battered on Friday, falling nearly 4% or 128 points to close at 3196 points.
Things also looked grim on the Hang Seng as it shed 557 points, closing at 24,705 points.
There was a little more resilience in Japan with the Nikkei 225 coming off 0.6% to close at 22,751 points.
It was red ink all round in the European region with the FTSE 100 falling 87 points or 1.4% to close at 6123 points.
The DAX was hard hit as it plunged more than 2% or 265 points, closing at 12,838 points.
The CAC 40 didn’t fare much better, closing at 4956 points after shedding 1.5%.
While falls in the major indices in the US weren’t as steep, the negative trend continued.
The Dow came off 0.7% to close at 26,469 points, while the S&P 500 came off 0.6%, closing at 3215 points.
The highflying NASDAQ took a breather as it fell nearly 1% to close at 10,363 points.
With all this negativity, it wasn’t surprising to see gold continue its strong run, hitting a long-term high of US$1904 per ounce before closing right on US$1900 per ounce.
After making some strong gains earlier in the week the Brent Crude Oil Continuous Contract trailed off on Thursday and Friday to finish the week at US$43.34 per barrel.
On the base metals front, copper finished the week at US$2.91 per pound after looking at one stage as though it could break through US$3.00 per pound for the first time since 2018.
There was little movement elsewhere with nickel, zinc and lead all trending slightly lower.
Iron ore came off slightly to finish just shy of US$110 per tonne.
It was a particularly strong week for the Australian dollar as it pushed up from approximately US$0.70 to close in on US$0.72 before consolidating around the US$0.71 mark on Thursday and Friday.
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