Of the other banks, NAB lost 9.5 per cent to $25.89, ANZ fell 7.1 per cent to $24.84, but Commonwealth Bank rose 2.8 per cent to $80.82.
“[Broadly] I think what we are seeing is a bit of a Christmas rally,” said Mr Dive, noting that some sort of resolution on Brexit and the trade war between China and the US will likely be important for market sentiment.
“The market feels like it wants to go up,” he said.
Blue chip strength
Across November, as interest rates remained at record lows, investors piled into the blue chip companies that tend to pay solid dividends and produce stable earnings.
Wesfarmers climbed 6.6 per cent to $42.37, while Woolworths rose 6.5 per cent to $39.76.
CSL rallied 10.7 per cent to $283.48. Credit Suisse was the latest broker to put out positive commentary on the stock, raising its price target to $305, up 24 per cent, and retaining an outperform rating on the stock.
It cited pricing-growth opportunity in Europe for the company’s IG segment. “All plasma participants have noted a tight IG market where demand is currently exceeding supply,” the analysis noted.
Telstra rallied 10.6 per cent to $3.86 over the month. The telco reaffirmed its guidance for the financial year ended June 2020. It expects operating expenses to decline in the current financial year, excluding impairments and restructuring costs, which would be about $300 million higher.
Virgin Money UK was a top performer in percentage terms, jumping 29.3 per cent to $3.35 during the four-week period. Formerly known as CYBG, the firm posted a hefty £194 million ($370 million) statutory loss as merger costs added to a £385 million hit from a final round of claims of mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).
The legacy from Virgin’s previous incarnation as Clydesdale & Yorkshire Banking Group overshadowed what the dual ASX- and London-listed bank described as healthy lending growth, falling costs and stable interest margins. Virgin pulled the plug on any full-year dividend as it weathers the PPI haymaker, but it didn’t downgrade forward guidance.
Engineering, construction and mining services company NRW Holdings was another top performer during November, rallying 32.4 per cent to $2.98. It closed its $120 million capital raise at $2.85 per share, which compared favourably to the last close before the raise of $2.83.
Bravura Solutions was another stellar performer, rising 20.7 per cent to $4.96. The firm retained its net profit after tax guidance for fiscal 2020. It said the new fiscal year had got off to a strong start and it expects profit growth in the mid-teens. New acquisitions will make an additional contribution of $3 million, Bravura added.
Caltex shares advanced 26.7 per cent to $34.56. The firm revealed a plan to spin off some of its service station sites in an IPO and then told the ASX that it had received an indicative proposal to acquire all of its shares for $34.50 apiece, less any dividends.
The bid, lobbed by Canadian convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard, equated to $8.6 billion. The Caltex board said discussions were at a preliminary stage and there was no certainty the talks would result in a transaction.
But Speedcast International slumped 18.6 per cent to 81¢ over the month. Ratings agency S&P Global lowered its issuer credit rating to B- from B, and maintained the outlook as ‘negative’.
Agricultural play Nufarm dropped 16.4 per cent to $4.95 after declaring an earnings downgrade on rebate issues in Germany and severe trading conditions in North America.