Why the ASX is so turbulent right now


Right now, the Australian stock market is in the middle of reporting season with companies sharing their full-year results.

While it provides investors with insights into a company's financial health, it can also be a very challenging time for investors, as stock prices tend to be very volatile.

In some cases, despite announcing record profits some companies fall heavily while those that announce record losses rise. It all comes down to the expectations from the big end of town and whether the company has missed expectations.


In other words, if the big end of town believes a company's profit should have been higher, they may sell the stock. Similarly, if the loss was less than they were expecting, they may buy. Confused? You are not alone, many investors find reporting season very confusing.

It's important to understand that reporting season is more for the big end of town than individual investors, so it's a good idea to bury your head in a book or go on a holiday during this time as you won't miss much. That said, some investors treat reporting season as a critical period that they need to pay attention to.

So, here are my tips for navigating reporting season successfully.

You need to know when reporting season starts and ends, and the dates the reports will be released for the companies you are interested in. In analysing the results, it's a good idea to compare this year's results with the prior year, as well as other companies in the sector.

Once you've analysed the reports, you can decide which stocks you want to buy or sell based on the results. Remember, analysts can have biased opinions, therefore, you need to set realistic expectations based on their views and do your own research.

As I always say, short-term fluctuations in price as a result of reporting season are largely irrelevant and should be ignored because the longer-term trend is more important.

While it can be very enticing to purchase a stock that is rising strongly in the short term for fear of missing out, this can lead to poor returns after reporting season ends.

That's why it pays to wait until after the volatility of reporting season ends to review your portfolio and the companies you are interested in buying because you're less likely to get caught up in the emotions of the market.

The best and worst performing sectors this week

The best performing sectors include Healthcare and Energy, as both are just in the green followed by Real Estate, which is just in the red for the week. The worst performing sectors include Materials down more than 5% followed Financials down more than 3% and Industrials down more than 2%.

The best performing stocks in the ASX top 100 include Carsales up more than 13% followed by Cochlear up more than 7% and ARB Corporation up more than 4%. The worst performing stocks include Pilbara Minerals down more than 11% followed by Evolution Mining, The Star Entertainment Group and Allkem, as they are all down more than 9%.

What's next for the Australian stock market

The Australian stock market is currently down more than 2.5% for the week and is looking like it will fall further. This year has been a constant battle between the bulls and bears because just when we thought one would be more dominant, everything switches.

Right now the All Ordinaries Index is currently up just under 2% for the year, which is very disappointing considering we have experienced three periods this year where the market has risen around 7% over multiple weeks.

The market has also had three periods where it has fallen, one of which we are currently experiencing.

We are 32 weeks into the calendar year and in that time the All Ordinaries Index has closed higher than it opened for the week 15 times, while it has closed lower than it opened 17 times. This is why I continue to say that the market is lacking confidence, which leads to unpredictability and why we need to be cautious.

In last week's report, I mentioned that it would not be surprising if the All Ordinaries Index fell away for a few weeks, and to be prepared in the event it did. Of course, this week's performance has validated my concerns.

Right now, the market could fall for another one or two weeks before it turns to rise again. That said, as we continue to experience, anything is possible in the current market conditions, so it's wise to expect further falls.

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Dale Gillham is chief investment analyst at Wealth Within Limited (AFSL 226347). He also serves as the head trainer at the Wealth Within Institute (RTO 21917). He has more than three decades of experience in the investment industry, and is the author of How to Beat the Managed Funds by 20%, Dale's qualifications include an Advanced Diploma and a Diploma of Share Trading and Investment. He co-hosts the Talking Wealth Podcast, and his work has appeared in The Australian Financial Review, New York Business Journal, Wall Street Select and more.