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Risky business: You know it's a bull market when even the Broncos shares are up 23%

Business

Investors are looking past the pandemic and searching for higher returns in the sharemarket with the ASX 200 now clawing back the massive losses caused by the pandemic and the lockdowns.

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In the US, the Dow broke through the 30,000 level for the first time. That means the world’s leading financial index has risen 62 per cent since March.

And November is shaping up as one of the index’s best-ever months with exchange-traded funds attracting about $53 billion so far in the month.

The surge is in defiance of the troubles the country is facing with COVID-19 infection numbers continuing to increase and deaths at about 250,000. Business is also facing the prospect of higher taxes under Democrat president Joe Biden.

Pepperstone’s Chris Weston said the energy sector was up 47 per cent from its October lows.

“I guess the concern I have from here is that the sheer love for risk assets is huge and market participants are so incredibly confident of the 2021 recovery theme that they are bringing future performance to the present,” Weston said.

The ASX has followed the upward surge today as Harvey Norman reported a pre-tax profit for the July to October period of $341 million, an increase of 160 per cent. That is a reflection of how many retailers have benefitted from the restrictions which have led to a surge in demand for household goods.

That demand is likely to spill over into the Black Friday and Cyber Monday online sales which are tipped to reach $5 billion this year in Australia. Wesfarmers, which owns Bunnings, also reached a record high share price on the ASX yesterday of $50.09. In the US, Tesla has a market value of $680 billion. Its shares have jumped from $US86 at the start of the year to $US555 overnight ahead of entering the S&P500 index.

The ASX 200 was at 6710, still well below its peak in February of 7022, but it has effectively wiped out all the losses of the pandemic which hit in March and is up 12 per cent for November.

The search for higher returns has also fed into the housing market and even Bitcoin which is now valued at almost $26,000, more than double the price of a year ago.

Oil prices have also reached the highest levels since March. West Texas Intermediate jumped 4 per cent yesterday to $US44.81. The rise is credited to the increasing good news about vaccines.

In Australia iron ore exports increased by $1.8 billion, or 6 per cent, to $30.5 billion in October 2020, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Gold prices have suffered because it is seen as a hedge against bad economic news.

Morgan Stanley is now predicting the Australian dollar will reach US77 cents next year, which will be good for import prices but not for Australia’s exports.

The stocks expected to benefit from the state borders reopening are in the travel, retail and energy sectors.

Flight Centre broke through the $17 mark today and Corporate Travel Management is above $20. Webjet was up 8 per cent in morning trade.

Even the troubled Broncos, who took the NRL wooden spoon this year, have had a surge in support on the market, jumping by 23 per cent in the past few weeks after it found a new chief executive, Dave Donaghy, from the Melbourne Storm.

Beach Energy, Origin, and Unibail were all significantly higher.

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