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ASX this week: Focus on Brexit update, Trump presidency

ASX this week: Focus on Brexit update, Trump presidency

Markets are likely to watch for any impact from a Brexit-focused speech by UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday, while the US presidential inauguration ceremony will take place on Friday.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.6% last week to 5,721.1, its first weekly decline since the five days ended 16 December, dragged down by the real estate, financial and utilities sectors.

On Friday:

  • Brent oil slipped 1% to US$55.45 a barrel, tumbling 2.9% for the week.
  • WTI crude shed 1.2% to US$52.37 a barrel; down 3% for the week.
  • Iron ore with 62% content delivered to Qingdao, China, fell 0.6% to US$80.54 a dry metric tonne, paring its weekly gain to 5.6%.
  • Spot gold added 0.2% to US$1,197.34 an ounce; up 2.1% for the week after rising in all five trading days.
  • Australian dollar traded at 75.02 US cents, chalking up a 2.8% gain after strengthening in all five days; the currency dropped less than 0.1% to 74.96 US cents at 12:10pm Sydney time today.

What to watch this week

UK Prime Minister Theresa May will deliver an important speech on Brexit tomorrow.

Newspapers in the UK predicted that May might prioritise controlling UK borders over keeping the country's access to the European Union single market.

"Government officials told the Sunday Times they expect her speech on Tuesday to cause a further market correction," said CommSec.

The pound weakened 1.1% from last Friday, trading at US$1.2052 at 12:10pm Sydney time. The British currency has tumbled 19% against the greenback since the referendum last June, according to Bloomberg data.

In the US, Donald Trump will be sworn in as President on Friday, 20 January.

US markets have fallen from recent highs in volatile trading, with CommSec suggesting that the moves have come on the back of investor concerns over Trump's plans and cabinet line-up.

Meanwhile, the US corporate earnings reporting season is in full swing, with more than 100 listed companies scheduled to release their latest financial results this week. US markets are closed on Monday to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Stock movers

Below are the five best- and worst-performing ASX 200 stocks for the week ended Friday, 13 January.

Company/Index

ASX code

Weekly price change

Galaxy Resources

GXY

+17.9%

Whitehaven Coal

WHC

+8.3%

A2 Milk Company

A2M

+8.2%

OZ Minerals

OZL

+7.1%

Blackmores

BKL

+7%

S&P/ASX 200

XJO

-0.6%

Mayne Pharma Group

MYX

-7%

Asaleo Care

AHY

-8.1%

GWA Group

GWA

-9.6%

Western Areas

WSA

-16.1%

Bellamy's Australia

BAL

-40%

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Source: Bloomberg

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. The inclusion of companies in this article does not constitute a recommendation and it’s vital to remember that the value of shares in any company can fall as well as rise, which means you could lose money by investing in them. Investors should consult a range of resources, and if necessary, seek professional advice, before making investment decisions in regard to their objectives, financial and taxation situations and needs because these have not been taken into account. Any securities or prices used in the examples given are for illustrative purposes only and should not be considered as a recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Commonwealth Securities Limited ABN 60 067 254 399 AFSL 238814 (CommSec) is a wholly owned but non-guaranteed subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL 234945 and a Participant of the ASX Group and Chi-X Australia.