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Note from the MD: Delta blues: ASX suffers worst day in a month as virus continues to spread

August 18, 2021

Note from the MD: Delta blues: ASX suffers worst day in a month as virus continues to spread

Well Melbourne is back under a curfew as most of the country and now New Zealand continue to clamp down on the spread of COVID-19’s more aggressive Delta variant.

Well Melbourne is back under a curfew as most of the country and now New Zealand continue to clamp down on the spread of COVID-19’s more aggressive Delta variant.

The benchmark ASX 200 index (ASX: XJO) dipped almost 1% yesterday – its second day of losses and worst day in about a month.

It is however worth noting that outside these past two days markets remain bullish and the XJO is now in its eleventh consecutive month of gains.

Even this morning, the XJO put on 9 points by 11am.

If you need a reminder of just how quickly the market has gained since the worst of the pandemic in 2020, just think back to the numerous new record highs that have come and go over the past year, or check your super balance – most major funds have delivered returns above 20%.

Consumers appear to be buoyed by the greater level of certainty around COVID responses too; spending has naturally fallen since the latest set of lockdowns kicked off, but we haven’t seen the huge declines we saw in 2020.

Some consumer goods are also seeing a surge in demand, particularly supplements and complementary medicines as shoppers try to stay healthy.

Speaking of consumers, the ABS published its latest wages data this morning – Sadly I haven’t had the chance to read through it all yet but I’m sure we’ll see a few headlines over the next few days on that front.

You might remember we saw a 0.6% increase in wages in the March quarter, partly reflecting regular increases but also an improvement in business conditions that gave employers confidence to do the wage reviews they’d postponed earlier.

Today’s data will no doubt make for some interesting reading.

We’ve already seen some big news this morning with CSL (ASX: CSL) reporting a record dividend of $1.61 per share after a 13% increase in net profit to US $2.375 billion.

Woodside petroleum (ASX: WPL), meanwhile, reported a profit of $317 million – a marked turn around from last year’s $4.1 billion loss.

The market saw its 2nd consecutive day of red as it reverts back below its post-COVID trend line. The 7500 level acted as a support for the market. 

With the 50 DMA (3380) only 130 points away we could see price action sliding towards that level. Alternatively the market may find support around 7450 to 7500 and bounce back. The 50 DMA is expected to be a strong support over the mid term.

We also saw the Emerging Companies index (ASX: XEC) hold close to flat, giving up just 0.02% through the day, while the Small Ordinaries (ASX: XSO) dropped by 1.1%.

Mining companies dragged, and the ASX 300 Metals and Mining index closed down 1.49%.

Big losers for the day included Piedmont Lithium (ASX: PLL), down 8.71%; Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS), down 5.58%; and Maca Limited, down 4.65%.

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