April – Week 3 and 4 update

April 23, 2021

After cracking the 7,000 point mark, the second half of April has been ‘Kangaroo’ like for the ASX. The earnings season in the US and talk tax increases have had a downward effect on their markets which have bled into the ASX.

The ASX VIX (volatility index) has remained around 13 to 11 this period.

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.

source: marketindex.com.au

CEO Insights


“Cyber security has to be high on the agenda for any listed company. If you’ve got something at stake, you’re a target. Every company on the ASX is utterly dependent on technology, but how many of these boards are ensuring that the risks are understood and appropriately responded to?”

Aidan Tudehope, MD, Macquarie Telecom Group Ltd

“For the larger and more complicated enterprise deals, being face-to-face for some of that sales cycle, as well as the implementation will [continue] to have some degree of importance”

Phil Snow, CEO, FactSet Research Systems Inc

“As the market is showing optimism with regards to a potential COVID recovery, we are seeing demand returning from industrial customers”

Mark Adams, CEO, SMART Global Holdings Inc [global computer memory & storage provider]

Global Economy

“I have little doubt that with excess savings, new stimulus savings, huge deficit spending, more QE [quantitative easing], a new potential infrastructure bill, a successful vaccine and euphoria around the end of the pandemic, the US economy will likely boom”

Jamie Dimon, CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Clothing & Textiles

“Pre-COVID, there was already an unprecedented amount of change taking place in the apparel industry driven mostly by technology and the consumer, which the pandemic only accelerated. The new normal will not be a static state, rather an ever-increasing rate of change”

Stefan Larsson, CEO, PVH Corporation [international clothing conglomerate/owner of brands inc. Van Heusen, Tommy Hilfiger & Calvin Klein]

“The trends that existed before the pandemic are even more important now and will only continue to grow post the pandemic. For example, people wanting to live an active and healthy lifestyle combined with the growth in demand for technical athletic apparel that performs, and finally, the innate need to feel part of a community and to share a human connection with one another”

Calvin McDonald, CEO, Lululemon Athletica Inc

“Having been present there [manufacturing clothing] for more than 30 years, we have witnessed remarkable progress within the Chinese textile industry. Being at the forefront of innovation and technology, China will clearly continue to play an important role in further developing the entire industry”

Helena Helmersson, CEO, Hennes & Mauritz AB [parent company of H&M clothing stores]


“This is the strongest March result in two years with private buyers representing the largest proportion of new vehicle purchasers” 

Tony Weber, CEO, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries

“It’s hard to know when the new car supply is going to continue to ramp up. I mean, they’re obviously facing some major chip shortages. I think the supply, the tightening of the supply is going to be around here for a while” 

William Nash, CEO, CarMax Inc [USA’s largest used car retailer]

“What we’re seeing in the UK is that drivers are saving money by going electric. It’s more cost-effective for us to provide an EV vehicle and more cost-effective for the driver. We’re starting to see that come into Australia now too, and one of the biggest drivers is that the cost of EVs is coming down. A lot of that is driven by the decrease in the price of batteries and the price of battery packs” 

Chris King, CEO, Splend [global car leasing operator to Uber drivers]

“Deloitte estimate that the CAGR, the compound annual growth rate for global EV growth sales will be around 29% over the next 10 years” 

John Chen, CEO, BlackBerry Limited [BlackBerry is now a car software provider]

Food & Beverage

“Psychology experts assert that it takes on average, 66 days for a new behaviour to become habitual…we are nearly 400 days into the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers have adapted to at-home eating and formed new habits that we expect to sustain well beyond the current conditions and early data supports our hypothesis” 

Sean Connolly, CEO, Conagra Brands Inc [multinational packaged foods brands conglomerate including brands Birds Eye & Healthy Choice]

“Our projections show that Australian non-food online retailing has more than five years of growth in 11 months. Non-food retail sales hit $2.1bn in January 2021, which would have taken until April 2025 in line with the pre-COVID-19 growth trajectory” 

Vanessa Brennan, Partner, Retail, Consumer and Digital Consulting, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Energy & Resources

“What sometimes gets lost is that when you look at the resource sector in Australia, it has an economic impact locally but that is tenfold regionally. Don’t underestimate how significant an impact Australia played in allowing China’s economy to continue to rebound like it did, to be able to allow Japan and other regional economies to sustain themselves like they did [during COVID]”

Al Williams, CEO, Chevron Australia

Commercial Property

“The golden days of landlords milking retailers is gone. This [post COVID] is a complete reset” 

Paul Zahra, CEO, Australian Retailers Association

“If customers are choosing to shop a brand in store in a shopping centre then, yes, that’s a relationship with the landlord. If customers are choosing to shop online because we’ve invested tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure then landlords have nothing do with that” 

Mark McInnes, CEO, Premier Investments Ltd

“Data centre demand is pushing industrial land prices up across the country” 

Cameron Grier, ANZ Industrial & Logistics Director, CBRE Group

Residential Property

“Given the environment of rising housing prices and low interest rates, the bank will be monitoring trends in housing borrowing carefully and it is important that lending standards are maintained” 

Dr Philip Lowe, Governor, Reserve Bank of Australia

“There is definitely a sense of buyers having a fear of missing out as they know prices are rising” 

Dan White, MD, Ray White Group

“It [current property market] is a bit different from what we’ve seen in the past. It hasn’t made investors come in and speculate and increase prices. This has all been about owner-occupiers. It is supply-and-demand driven as opposed to anything else” 

George Frazis, CEO, Bank of Queensland Ltd

“Trying to control prices through taxes and what not, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. I’d lean to more supply, to me if you have a supply/demand issue, let’s see how you can do that by increasing supply” 

Peter King, CEO, Westpac Banking Corporation


“I think if you ask anybody that’s providing a product these days, we’ve seen a seismic shift [to online] over the last 12 months” 

Gary Medved, CEO, Mace Security International inc [global manufacturer of personal safety & security products]


“Australia, right now, we don’t have a great statistic from the country, but my guess is that Australia is probably processing less than 100,000 cattle per week, has been this way since last quarter. It’s not new, and the normal would be 140,000” 

“Farm condition or ranch condition in Australia is extremely good and they received even more rain this week pretty much all over the place…So we’re going to continue to see a very strong retention and rebuild of the [cattle] herds in Australia”

Andre Nogueira, CEO, JBS Inc. [world’s largest beef processor]

Travel & Leisure

“The car rental shortage is a critical problem but at the moment there’s not much we can do about it” 

Luke Martin, CEO, Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania

“Around 38 per cent of Australian tourism businesses have told us they’re cutting jobs and reducing workforce hours to stay viable with the ending of JobKeeper, Sixty per cent of tourism enterprises are in a weaker position since COVID-19, 47 per cent remain open but have fewer staff, and the end of JobKeeper is having a major impact on exposed sectors” 

Simon Westaway, Executive Director, Australian Tourism Industry Council

“We’ve experienced significant latent demand upon opening new sailings this summer. In fact P&O [Cruises] opened to a single biggest booking day in seven years on the announcement of coastal sailings for its two ships this summer” 

Arnold Donald, CEO, Carnival Corporation [world’s largest cruise ship company]

International Education

“As a sector [ESL – English as a Second Language] that’s 100 per cent reliant on foreign nationals, we’re seeing other sectors like aviation and tourism being singled out [for COVID relief], but nothing dedicated for our sector at the moment, which is really disturbing”

Brett Blacker, CEO, Education Australia [national body for the English language sector of international education]

Transport & Logistics

“Reforms to address climate change are ushering in an era of modal shift for freight, from polluting and congested road travel to efficient higher speed rail service. This will drive significant growth in railcar demand in the years to come above and beyond replacement demand growth” 

Bill Furman, CEO, The Greenbrier Companies Inc [global manufacturer/repairer of railcars]

“Rail freight traffic has actually grown over pre-crisis levels in some countries” 

Bill Furman, CEO, The Greenbrier Companies Inc [global manufacturer/repairer of railcars]

“The spot rate on containers has gone up massively – there are less containers and less ships so there’s more demand than supply” 

Andre Reich, CEO, The Reject Shop Ltd


“No matter what commodity you look at, whether its poly[ethylene], resin, oil or gas, commodity prices are up and a lot of them impact raw material costs” 

Bernie Brookes, Exec Chairman, Colette [handbag & jewellery retailer]

“As we navigate the current environment, we are seeing input cost inflation accelerate in many of our categories and across the industry” 

Sean Connolly, CEO, Conagra Brands Inc [multinational packaged foods brands conglomerate including brands Birds Eye & Healthy Choice]

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