The ASX200 closed relatively flat again on Thursday, down just 0.2% to 7335 points. The local exchange has moved just 5 points over the last five days, flattening out as investors consolidate after an astonishing year. Trading volumes remain similarly subdued; investors will be considering the impact of extended lockdowns announced in greater Sydney, and new Covid cases in Victoria.
The buy-now, pay-later sector returned to the headlines on Wednesday, as media broke news of competition from global behemoths PayPal (PYPL.NAS) and Apple (APPL.US). PayPal had previously announced its ‘PayPal Pay in 4’, a 4-part payment programme like that of local market darling Afterpay (APT), but without the late fees. Apple is now rumoured to be offering a buy now, pay later option through Apple Pay, with the help of Goldman Sachs (GS.NYS). The news led to falls of nearly 10% on the day, with Afterpay now below $105 after touching $130 just three weeks ago. It remains well above recent lows of $85, however. Zip Co (Z1P) also suffered heavy losses, although having jumped 15% last week on news of a 4% stake taken by Swedish BNPL giant Klarna, the Zip price has fallen just 3% this month. The share price falls in the sector have led to mixed trading from nabtrade investors; Afterpay was a sell on Thursday, however Z1P remains a trading stock, with larger numbers of smaller trades.
Fortescue Metals (FMG) continues to be heavily traded, with iron ore prices holding well above $200 a tonne and investors trimming the stock at current prices. BHP (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) also feature in the top 20, with a bias to the sell side. Vulcan Energy (VUL) rose over 20% during the week, then fell over 9% on Thursday, which led to buying. Nabtrade investors had been selling into strength through the week.
After the excitement of last week’s takeover offer, Sydney Airport (SYD) has held onto its gains, but nabtrade investors have either taken profits or are holding out for a higher offer, as the stock has fallen out of the top 20. Flight Centre (FLT) suffered falls on news of rising Covid cases, border closures, and extended lockdowns; opportunistic investors have picked up the stock. Qantas (QAN) was also a buy, on larger trade sizes.
Significant share price moves during the week also brought out alert investors. Battery materials and technology company Novonix (NVX) was up nearly 15% without any major announcements; the stock has been bid up over 2021 and nabtrade holders cashed in. Nearmap (NEA) has been far from the top of the most traded stocks for some time, but captured attention this week with upgraded guidance and significant growth on the previous corresponding period. Those still holding sold down, although the company’s share price is still down over twelve months.
On international markets, while Tesla (TSLA.US) was again the most traded stock, the highest value trades were concentrated in the Chinese tech sector. Meituan Dianping (3690.HK) is a Chinese company that aspires to be the Amazon of services, according to Fast Company, connecting users with takeaway food providers, hotels and more via a variety of apps and websites. It offers ‘deals of the day’ and had as many as 290 million monthly users in 2018; it was sold down. China Suntien (0956.HK) Green Energy Company includes both green energy (wind power) and natural gas and was a large buy.
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