Australia’s first share market trading day of the new financial year finished almost exactly where it started, with early gains erased despite strong overnight leads from Europe and the US.
While offshore markets have shaken off their Brexit blues for the time being, recovering most or all of their lost ground from a week ago, the Australian market is yet to fully recover.
At the close of trade on Friday the Australian benchmark All Ordinaries index was 0.3 per cent higher at 5327 points, while the ASX 200 index of bigger stocks ended 0.3 per cent up at 5246.6 points.
That compared with the 5298.2 point level the market was trading at just prior to the announcement of the Brexit vote result on the previous Friday, after which panic selling triggered a $50 billion market wipeout.
Superannuation research group Chant West has predicted that most funds will announce positive returns from the 2015-16 financial, delivering their members average returns between 2.5 per cent and 6 per cent.
After fees and inflation, most members will see little if any positive return.
Australia’s broader market closed in the red at the end of June, with the All Ordinaries index down 2.7 per cent and the ASX 200 index – made up of the largest listed companies – losing 4.13 per cent.
The ASX 20 index, mostly made up of the big banks, other financial stocks and the largest mining stocks, finished the financial year 12 per cent down.
The big banks have suffered as a result of weakening conditions and returns, while the sharp downturn in commodity prices has severely eroded the share prices of large base metals miners such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.
Financial stocks as a whole lost 9 per cent in the year to June 30, while energy companies fared much worse as a result of the dive in the global oil market, ending the 12 months 25 per cent lower.
But it wasn’t all bad news for investors.
A strong upturn in the gold price over the past year delivered stunning returns for investors in gold mining stocks and securities directly linked to the gold price. The gold share market index rose 85 per cent in the financial year.
Gold is a favoured currency for investors during times of volatility, and is continuing to gain ground.
For share market investors, including those with indirect exposures courtesy of their superannuation fund holdings, the weak start to the new financial year and the higher gold price should probably be a signal that volatility is still the name of the game.