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ASX market update; Victorian lockdowns extended

Asset Allocation

Victorian lockdowns extended, markets remain calm, Labor Day holiday in the US, ASX to open higher

The market responded positively to news that the majority of Victorians will remain under stringent lockdown measures well into November; the ASX 200 (ASX:XJO) finishing 0.3% higher.

Transurban Group (ASX:TCL) was among the hardest hit from the announcement, with travel restricted on its key toll road, falling 2.8% for the day.

  • Elsewhere it was the large caps holding the market higher, BHP Group Ltd (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX:RIO) adding 2.4% each after the iron ore price breached $130 per tonne over the weekend.

    CSL added the most to the recovery, boosted 1.1% after announcing it had signed an agreement with the Federal Government for the supply of 51 million doses of an as yet unproven vaccine, along with an agreement with AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN) to produce their Oxford vaccine if successful. Shares finished 4% higher in European trading.

    Confidence in Sydney Airport declines, value vs. growth

    The latest entrant to the burgeoning Buy Now Pay Later sector, Laybuy Group Holdings Ltd (ASX:LBY), listed on the ASX adding 45%, suggesting the issue should have been priced a little higher but delivering a stag profit for the few able to obtain an allocation.

    Sydney Airport (ASX:SYD) announced that retail investors took up just 62% of their entitlements in the current capital raising, despite being offered at a 20%+ discount to the current price.

    With the likes of Helloworld Travel Ltd (ASX:HLO) not pricing in a return to pre-pandemic travel levels until 2025, I’m erring on the side of caution for the embattled travel sector.

    Is it time for Magellan Financial Group Ltd (ASX:MFG) to buy Platinum Asset Management Ltd (ASX:PTM)? The former hit $100 billion in assets under management in August, the latter losing another $200 million and sitting at $21 billion. The issue?

    I’m not sure PTMs earnings growth would meet MFG preference for growing companies.

    China surprises, European markets finish higher, ASX to rally at open

    Chinese exports recovered strongly in August, booming 9.5% on 2019 and well ahead of expectations; the third straight month of improvement.

    Imports remain weak as the economy uses the COVID-19 lockdowns to transition towards more self-reliance, imports falling 2.1% and those from Australia a much larger 26% fall.

    In my view, Australian investors should be reviewing their ASX-listed holdings for under-appreciated exposures to China.

    With US markets closed, the ASX will follow the European lead, which finished 1.7% higher on the back of a a broad-based rally, with car makers leading the way, Volkswagen AG (ETR:VOW3) adding 4.7% after Tesla founder Elon Musk, was seen test driving the latest model in Germany.

    European and Japanese GDP announcements are due today.

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