April – Week 1 and 2 update

April 8, 2021

April has been off to a better start so far in week 1. A string of good days has seen the ASX 200 get almost to 7,000 points. (Broke 7000 but closed at 6,999 points on Thursday 8th Apr 2021). This is a 14-month high (since Feb 2020).

The ASX VIX (volatility index) had dropped nicely down to 11.

source: marketindex.com.au

Volatility doesn’t necessarily show market direction (up or down) but the range of average price changes over time.

The S&P/ASX 200 VIX Index (XVI) calculates the amount of volatility expected in the market over the next 30 days.

•  High readings indicate uncertainty (bearish)
•  Normal readings suggest a slight bullish bias
•  Low readings indicate low volatility (bullish) and strong investor confidence.

CEO Insights

Travel & Leisure

“In some cases, we think the airfares could be half of what they were pre-Covid and that will be there to stimulate demand. Internationally it’s going to take a while for it to recover to 2019 levels” 

Alan Joyce, CEO, Qantas Group


“The consumer is really clear that they want to get what they want, when they want it, how they want it and they want a seamless, premium digital and physical experience. In fact, in many cases, they don’t see a difference between digital and physical” 

John Donahoe, CEO, Nike Inc

“Our brands remain well positioned to capitalise on consumer trends that have seen increased participation in surfing, camping and hiking” 

Xavier Simonet, CEO, Kathmandu Holdings Ltd

“One of the most interesting things we have seen in the last year is also the emergence of new cohorts of young DIY’ers, with a big increase in motivation, new skills and enthusiasm for DIY. Recent surveys we undertook across our market highlight that 18 to 34-year-olds have done more home improvement than any other age group…All of this is very encouraging for the future of our industry” 

Thierry Garnier, CEO, Kingfisher plc [multinational home improvement retailer]

Construction & Infrastructure

“I know that our competitors in Australia may have [based on their communicated guidance] a little bit of a different view on this but from what we see, also on the back of good infrastructure pipelines, there are significant infrastructure programs locally by state and nationally in place, we are optimistic for Australia” 

Dominik von Achten, CEO, HeidelbergCement Group [one of the world’s largest building materials companies]

“We are seeing very strong detached housing building approvals in Australia” 

Todd Barlow, MD, Washington H. Soul Pattinson Ltd

Domestic Housing

“I think they [house prices] will level out because people will run out of buying capacity” 

Lindsay Partridge, CEO, Brickworks Ltd

Food & Beverage

“Stores with fresh food fast have been performing well relative to control [status quo] stores within the same markets” 

Brian Hannasch, CEO, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc [one of the world’s largest convenience store operators]

Transport & Logistics

“FedEx is prepared to transport vaccines to more than 220 countries and territories for as long as necessary to help eradicate COVID-19” 

Fred Smith, CEO, FedEx Corporation


“It’s more a speculative asset [cryptocurrencies] that’s essentially a substitute for gold rather than for the dollar” 

Jerome Powell, Chairman, US Federal Reserve

“You can now buy a Tesla with Bitcoin” 

Elon Musk, CEO, Tesla Inc


“Australia is easily the most hostile environment for electric vehicles in the world” 

Behyad Jafari, CEO, Electric Vehicle Council [Australia’s national EV industry body]

“Every six months we do an update with a [Volkswagen] board meeting on the EV environment in Australia. They are sitting in waiting for something to change [improving regulations], you know, but nothing ever changes” 

Michael Bartsch, MD, Volkswagen Australia

“We also continue to be restrained from hitting full manufacturing potential given almost daily [vehicle] component availability challenges” 

Michael Happe, CEO, Winnebago Industries Inc


“I cannot see a long-term rise in inflation. I talk to the chief executives who occupy Charter Hall’s $50 billion portfolio. No one I talk to predicts a wage breakout and technology will continue to be a wage deflator” 

David Harrison, CEO, Charter Hall Group

“We are seeing it across the globe, we are seeing inflation and it’s broad-based across commodities, across logistics, across things like aluminium and steel and so whenever you see this kind of broad-based inflation and it’s global, that’s an environment where you are going to realise net pricing [see less discounting]” 

Jeff Harmening, CEO, General Mills Inc [world’s 6th biggest food producer]

Employment & Workforce

“As employees return to offices, companies will discover that hybrid is hard to get right. Every meeting might have a remote participant but it’s not going to feel the same as when everyone was remote…Individual work will be different too, as it will often include the need to jump on a video call without distracting others” 

Jim Keane, CEO, Steelcase Inc [largest office furniture manufacturer in the world]


“Creation and consumption across phones, tablets and desktops is exploding” 

Shantanu Narayen, CEO, Adobe Inc

“All the CEOs that I’m talking to, those who’ve already invested in digital are absolutely doubling down because they recognise that this is the way to further differentiate” 

Shantanu Narayen, CEO, Adobe Inc

Energy & Resources

“They [energy storage batteries] are getting cheaper and cheaper by the minute” 

Brett Redman, CEO, AGL Energy Ltd

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