Skip to content

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Please ensure you fully understand the risks involved. CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Please ensure you fully understand the risks involved.

How the Coronavirus has impacted Australia’s top 20 largest companies

'The financial industry is a levered bet on global GDP.’

Australia's largest companies and the Coronavirus Source: Bloomberg

The 'red chip' benchmark

When the ASX 20 is mentioned, reliability is likely one of the first things that come to mind. Over the years, market commentators, analysts and pundits have all led us to believe that these are the bluest of the blue chips: the stalwarts that will survive any storm, panic or mania.

The emergence of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has definitively tested that conventional wisdom. At 134,679 reported cases and close to 5,000 deaths across the globe, its threat – to both human life and the world economy – can be hardly understated.

In response, equity markets across the globe have crashed, and comparisons to 2008’s Global Financial Crisis have become a staple amongst the media. On the ASX no company has been spared: the banks have been smashed, the miners battered and even CSL, which we once noted people were joking ‘couldn’t go down’, has seen its share price come off significantly.

As Matt Levine recently said in his always enjoyable Money Stuff column:

‘Loosely speaking the financial industry is a levered bet on global GDP.’ That metric is not looking so great right now.

Ultimately, maybe this is a good reminder that investing in equities is an inherently risky enterprise, a notion easily forgotten amidst bull markets.

(Of course that is not say that there are not opportunities to be had, only that a high degree of risk tolerance is required.)

Looking broader afield, the ASX 200 has decisively entered a bear market – defined as a market falling more than 20% from recent highs. From its frothy February peaks, the blue-chip benchmark was down as much as 31% by Friday afternoon.

For reference, during the GFC the ASX 200 fell approximately 55% from peak-to-trough.

Surveying the current situation, Julia Lee, Chief Investment Officer at Burman Invest, said in a recent interview with, that:

'What we have seen in the past is it is an opportunity for longer-term investors who can keep their cool.’

The problem of course, as Julia Lee highlights, is that:

‘We don’t know how long this is going to go for.’

With all that in mind, below we highlight the impact that the Coronavirus crisis has had on the share prices of Australia’s 20 largest companies – ordered from largest to smallest – over the last month.

Top 20 largest Australian companies (ASX 20)


Market cap

Share price

1-month performance





Commonwealth Bank




BHP Group








National Australia Bank




ANZ Banking Group
























Rio Tinto




Goodman Group




Woodside Petroleum




Newcrest Mining








Insurance Australia




Scentre Group




Suncorp Group








How to trade Australia’s largest companies

What are your thoughts on the current situation: have Australia’s top 20 blue chips been oversold or are there further declines to come? Trade accordingly. You can go LONG or SHORT on any of Australia’s largest companies with IG’s world-class trading platform now.

For example, to buy (long) or sell (short) CSL, currently Australia’s largest company, using CFDs, follow these easy steps:

  • Create an IG Trading Account or log in to your existing account
  • Enter ‘CSL’ in the search bar and select it
  • Choose your position size
  • Click on ‘buy’ or ‘sell’ in the deal ticket
  • Confirm the trade

Not ready to commit real capital but still want to get involved in the markets? You can set up an IG Demo Account and practice trading any of the ASX 20 stocks we have discussed today immediately. Click here now to get started today.

This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Australia Pty Ltd. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients.

React to global volatility

Market volatility continues as coronavirus dominates the global agenda. Trade with us to take advantage of:

  • Tight spreads – from just 1 point on major indices, and 2.8 on US crude
  • Guaranteed stops – they’re free to use, and you’ll only pay a small fee if they’re triggered
  • Round-the-clock assistance – our highly-skilled team are on hand to support you

Live prices on most popular markets

  • Forex
  • Shares
  • Indices

You might be interested in…

Find out what charges your trades could incur with our transparent fee structure.

Discover why so many clients choose us, and what makes us a world-leading provider of CFDs.

Stay on top of upcoming market-moving events with our customisable economic calendar.