ASX 200: The Last 30 Days in Review, Part 1

We examine some of the key moves from Australia’s most important sector indices, equities and the AUD/USD over the last month.

ASX 200: Key equity market moves at a glance

The ASX 200 benchmark has risen over 200 points in the last month – confidently trading above the 6,000 point mark, after spending most of September treading water.

At the time of writing the ASX 200 traded at 6,115 points.

In step with this returning optimism, many of Australia’s key sector indices have also trended higher, with information technology stocks proving the front-runners of this resurgence. Specifically, between September 9 and October 9:

  • The S&P/ASX 200 Financials (AXFJ) index added 3.6%, closing last Friday’s session at the 4,776 point level. AXFJ currently accounts for nearly a quarter of the entire ASX 200.
  • The S&P/ASX 200 Health Care (AXHJ) index gained 3.3%, closing last Friday’s session at the 43,486 point level. AXHJ makes up around 12% of the benchmark.
  • The S&P/ASX 200 Materials (AXMJ) index rose 0.5%, finishing out last week at the 14,218 point level. AXMJ accounts for close to 20% of the ASX 200 benchmark.
  • The S&P/ASX 200 Information Technology (AXIJ) index has risen 10.2%, closing out last week’s final session at the 1,901 point level. AXIJ accounts for just 4.5% of the ASX 200.

On a more granular level and surveying some of the ASX’s most popular equities: In the last month CSL has gained close to 5%, Afterpay has risen over 20%, FMG has lost a little over 2%, while the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has risen ~3.5%.

Equities move higher, AUD/USD remains volatile

Though equities have moved consistently higher over the last month, it has proven to be a volatile month for the Australian dollar (AUD/USD). After trading up to 0.73451 on 16 September – the AUD/USD faced heavy selling pressure in the coming fortnight – bottoming out at 0.70061 on 25 September. Looking at what drove those bearish moves, close to that bottom, IG’s Market Analyst Kyle Rodda wrote:

‘The AUD/USD shed nearly half-a-per-cent today after Westpac Chief Economist Bill Evans announced his opinion that the RBA would ease policy again next month. Amongst other things, the RBA will cut the cash rate and its yield-curve-control target to 0.1 per cent according to Evans, as the central bank attempts to combat a slowing economic recovery.’

Mind you, since almost dipping below the 0.70 mark – the AUD/USD has recovered modestly – last trading around 0.722.

Read Part 2 of our ASX review and discover how 3 key brokers reacted to Northern Star and Saracen Mineral’s proposed $16 billion merger.

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