ASX 200 weekly wrap: Suncorp shares down amid life insurance hearings

Supermarket giant Woolworths and major banks NAB, ANZ and Suncorp took some of the biggest hits to their market value last week.
Suncorp and Adelaide Bank raise rates
Source: Nils Versemann (Shutterstock)

Suncorp’s life insurance arm was under the spotlight at the financial services royal commission last week.

The commission heard Suncorp Life had the highest rate of rejected claims for total life insurance, with more than 4% of claims rejected, and had the highest level of surveillance for both physical and mental health claims out of all 10 insurers that took the stand.

Suncorp had more than $714 million wiped from its market value last week with its share price falling 3.7% to close at $14.34 per share.

Canstar’s General Manager of Wealth Josh Callaghan said bank stocks were under renewed pressure due to the royal commission’s public hearings into the insurance industry.

“Despite many of the banks having sold off their life insurance arms, the market may be, once again, looking at how to value the banks,” Mr Callaghan said.

ANZ, which is in the process of selling its OnePath life insurance business to Zurich, saw its share price fall 0.9% to close at $28.15 per share.

NAB, which retained a 20% stake in MLC Life after selling the majority of the business to Nippon Life in 2016, had a 1.9% drop in share price to $27.35 last week.

Suncorp is due to hold its annual general meeting in Brisbane on Thursday, 20 September.

ASX 200 Listed Companies – Top 5 Biggest Market Cap Gains and Losses (10/09/2018 to 14/09/2018)
Biggest Gains Biggest Losses
Rank Company $ Change in Market Cap Closing Share Price % Change in Share Price Rank Company $ Change in Market Cap Closing Share Price % Change in Share Price
1 Transurban Group (TCL) $3,469,274,575 $11.24 -1.7% 1 National Australia Bank (NAB) -$1,421,736,390 $27.35 -1.9%
2 Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) $1,742,244,501 $71.50 1.4% 2 Woolworths Group (WOW) -$1,155,725,068 $27.41 -3.1%
3 BHP Billiton (BHP) $1,670,079,374 $31.82 1.7% 3 Wesfarmers (WES) -$1,099,825,034 $50.42 -1.9%
4 Woodside Petroleum  (WPL) $1,525,927,025 $36.91 4.6% 4 Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) -$718,404,529 $28.15 -0.9%
5 South32 (S32) $1,328,673,871 $3.75 7.4% 5 Suncorp Group (SUN) -$714,177,174 $14.34 -3.7%
Prepared by Canstar. Prices taken as of week to week close.

Woolworths down amid looming class action

Shares in Woolworths Group went ex-dividend last Thursday, and the supermarket giant’s share price declined 3.1% to close at $27.41.

Earlier last week, Maurice Blackburn lawyers lodged a class action in the Federal Court against Woolworths on behalf of shareholders impacted by the retailer’s profit downgrade in 2015 that led to the company’s shares tumbling by almost 40%.

Maurice Blackburn has accused Woolworths of misleading investors and for breaching disclosure obligations and is seeking at least $100 million in compensation for shareholders.

Energy and tech sectors gain over the week

The S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.36% to 6,165.3 points and the All Ordinaries was up 0.39% to 6,276.3 points over the course of last week, with the energy sector leading the pack with a 4.91% increase.

Mr Callaghan said the energy sector’s performance came off the back of strengthening oil prices.

“Notable contributors to this result were Whitehavel Coal, up 8.8%, and Origin Energy, up 7.9% for the week,” he said.

The information technology sector gained 2.59% last week; led by Afterpay’s strong rally, Mr Callaghan added.

The ‘buy now, pay later’ stock was up 15.1% to close at $17.27 last week, having traded at only around $4.50 this time last year.

The utilities, financials and retail-related consumer staples and consumer discretionary sectors were all down last week.

ASX 200 Listed Companies – Top 5 Biggest Share Price Gains and Losses (10/09/2018 to 14/09/2018)
Biggest Gains Biggest Losses
Rank Company Closing Share Price % Change Rank Company Closing Share Price % Change
1 Afterpay Touch (APT) $17.27 15.1% 1 Regis Resources (RRL) $3.90 -7.4%
2 Whitehaven Coal (WHC) $5.17 8.8% 2 Greencross (GXL) $3.71 -7.3%
3 Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API) $1.87 8.7% 3 CSR (CSR) $3.92 -6.4%
4 Origin Energy (ORG) $8.33 7.9% 4 Galaxy Resources (GXY) $2.49 -6.0%
5 South32 (S32) $3.75 7.4% 5 Domino’s Pizza Enterprises (DMP) $51.68 -5.5%
Prepared by Canstar. Prices taken as of week to week close.

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