The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is tipped to open flat on Monday. Here’s what you need to know as we head into August reporting season.
The ASX 200 fell 2.0% on Friday, but managed to hold onto a 0.5% gain for the month; its fourth straight winning month. Without sounding like a broken record, the story remained the same, with financials (-2.7%) and energy (-3.1%) hardest hit amid the threat of further economic shutdowns amid spiking cases in Japan, the US, Australia and Europe.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) share price fell 2.8% on Friday, with its long-awaited dividend announcement on 12 August marked in all income starved investors’ calendars. Having beaten APRA’s restrictions earlier in the year, I expect CBA will take a conservative view with its dividend, cutting it by at least 50% to just 4.0%.
AMP (ASX: AMP) was the biggest detractor on the day, falling 12.8% after flagging a 50% drop in profits on 2019, to $140-150 million, and net outflows of $4.4 billion from the wealth management division. The selloff is clearly overdone and exacerbated by a lack of comment around the dividend, with more clarity to be delivered on 13 August.
Welcome to the new world
The Nasdaq continued its recent outperformance, adding 1.5% on Friday, compared to the S&P 500, up 0.8%, taking the monthly gains to 5.3% and 4.5% respectively. Of more interest is the year to date gains: 19.8% compared to just 1.2%.
Friday saw the first trading post the quarterly announcements from Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL). Put simply, the world has changed and those not exposed to the companies of tomorrow will be left behind. The highlights were as follows:
- Apple – Shares increased 10.5% on Friday, leading global markets, as quarterly revenue increased 11% to US$59.7 billion. This was on the back of a 22% increase in Mac sales, 31% jump in iPad sales and 17% rise in wearables due to the ubiquitous white ‘AirPods’. Apple became the largest listed company in world on Friday, surpassing Saudi Aramco.
- Amazon – Shares increased 3.7% with Jeff Bezos reporting US$88.9 billion in sales and US$5.2 billion in quarterly profits, five times higher than consensus. Growth remains incredibly strong, with product sales up 40.2%, services 38.7% and Amazon Web Services Cloud business up 28.9%. Interesting, 28.9% growth was a slowdown for the cloud computing division; go figure.
- Facebook – Shares increased 8.2% after management reported revenue increased 11% from 2019 to US$18.69 billion. This was a slowdown on the previous quarterly growth of 28%, but still reflective of the company’s importance in a disconnected, locked-down world. The company reported a 14% increase in users and 2.7 billion global monthly members. Whilst a number of high profile clients have boycotted advertising on Facebook, Founder Mark Zuckerberg noted that most sales actually come from small to medium businesses, not the likes of Unilever and Coca Cola.
- Alphabet – Shares fell 3.3% after announcing a rare fall in revenue, down 2% to US$38.3 billion, the first such contraction since it became public. Ads on its YouTube platform improved as viewers spent more time at home consuming digital content. Google Cloud revenue grew 50% whilst the key Ad Words platform fell close to 10% to US$6.69 billion for the quarter as advertisers tightened their belts.
Is value dead?
Whilst it was a busy week for economic data, little could be taken from the stunning contractions in the US (-33%), France (-14%) and Germany (-10%), with investors already looking towards the future. Throughout the week I noticed a number of signs suggesting things may be much worse ‘on the ground’ in Australia than the headlines suggest.
Estimates now suggest that $42 billion will be withdrawn from super and according to Industry Super Australia, some 27% of Queenslanders had withdrawn their balances; this despite the state being relative unscathed. Small business lender Prospa (ASX: PGL) noted a massive spike in borrowers seeking hardship support and adding a further $20 million to at-risk loans. In a worrying sign, many investment properties are now being listed for sale if they can’t be rented, particularly apartments, putting huge pressure on prices.
On the positive side, Friday’s US reporting season confirmed what we already knew, traditional value investing is dead. The story is much the same in Australia, where income has driven investment decisions for several decades, but the music has clearly stopped and it’s more important than ever to be exposed to companies that are growing, rather than trading ‘cheap’.
This couldn’t be better highlighted than through Pacific Current Group (ASX: PAC)’s announcement that they had added $17 billion in assets under management for the quarter, the majority of which went into the GQG Partners Global Equity Funds, a key part of Wattle Partner’s Model Portfolio, and leading growth investors.
Highlights for the coming week include BWP Trust (ASX: BWP) earnings results on Tuesday, ResMed (ASX: RMD) on Thursday, and REA Group Limited (ASX: REA) on Friday.
This article 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.