3 ASX 200 shares you need to watch Thursday: HVN, WES & NST

Australia’s ASX 200 index is tipped to open lower on Thursday. Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) and Kogan.com Ltd (ASX: KGN) are two ASX shares you need to watch.

What investors need to know Thursday

The ASX200 held on to a small gain on Wednesday, adding 3.5 points despite dropping 1% at the open.

CSL shares almost singlehandedly floated the market, with its 2.6% rally adding 10 points to the ASX 200 alone. Likewise, Wesfarmers benefitted from a round of broker upgrades following stronger than expected retail sales figures.

Australian gold miners and healthcare rallied, benefitting from a weaker Australian dollar with junior miner Gold Road Resources up 6% and Northern Star Resources Ltd rallying a similar amount. After years of being underappreciated gold has finally moved into the mainstream amid the COVID-19 volatility, offering one of the few uncapped returns in the market. In my opinion, gold should form a part of all long-term portfolios in this ‘new normal’ for its hedging benefits but investors need to consider the benefits of hedged or unhedged positions.

Featured video: how to buy shares in Australia (step by step)

Overnight, US Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said US interest rates would likely remain on hold until at least 2022.

Investors seemed to focus more so on his comments around the potential for long-term damage to the economy, sending all markets down with the S&P500 -0.5%, Euro Stoxx -0.8% and the Dow Jones ending down 1%.

Technology continued to rally, Microsoft adding 3.7%, with the more cyclical beneficiaries including Boeing and American Express off 6% and 4%, respectively.

There has been growing coverage of the increasing cash holdings building up in the portfolios of professional investment managers and suggestions that this extended rally may have been driven by short-sellers now covering their position. If this is the case, expect the current daily whipsaw to continue with buyers re-entering the market on any falls.

Dividends & capital raisings

Whitegoods and electronics retailer Harvey Norman delivered what appeared to be a fairly innocuous sales update to the market, announcing sales were up 17.5% on its 2019 result for the five months ended May 31. The result also reinstated the previously ‘deferred’ dividend via the payment of a 6-cent special dividend, sending the share price up 7.3% and leading all constituents.

Kogan is capitalising on its recent popularity by raising $115 million at a discount of just 7.5%. In my view, this raising is one to avoid as it smells of opportunism.

Transurban’s troubled Westgate Tunnel project has moved to the Supreme Court after CIMIC and John Holland sought to tear up the $6.7 billion build citing ‘force majeure’ due to unexpected soil contamination issues. It’s looking increasingly unlikely the project will be finished anytime soon placing pressure on the extension to Transurban’s leases on its other toll roads. With TCL having recovered most of its losses already, this is one we would be avoiding for the time being with a potential capital raising around the corner.

This report was written by Drew Meredith, Financial Adviser and Director of Wattle Partners. To get in contact with Drew, click here to visit the Wattle Partners website.

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