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May gains help listed SA companies claw back losses

Business

South Australia’s 10 biggest listed companies continue to claw back lost ground, growing their values by an average of 10 per cent on the Australian Securities Exchange for the month of May.

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It is the second consecutive month of growth for local companies but they are almost all still well short of the high values they enjoyed before the coronavirus pandemic crippled global markets.

Agribusiness Elders led the way and is the only major SA company that has grown its value since the market peaked on February 20.

Elders gained a further 15 per cent in May to close the month with a share price of $9.95, its highest since April 2010.

The company’s share price has increased every month since the start of November, when it was valued at just over $6.

The state’s energy big energy companies were among the hardest hit when markets crashed in March and the world oil price plummeted.

The state’s largest company, Santos, again performed strongly in May, closing on Friday with a share price of $5.36 and a market cap of $11.17 billion, up 17.6 per cent increase for the month.

While it is a sharp improvement on its March 19 low of $2.75 a share, the June 1 opening price is still well down on its highest point for the year of $9 on January 15.

Beach Energy grew its market capitalisation by 12.2 per cent, or $400 million in May to overtake Bendigo & Adelaide Bank as the state’s third largest public company.

Oz Minerals continued its steady recovery to finish the month at $9.42, a May gain of 10.7 per cent. The copper company with South Australian mines at Prominent Hill and Carrapateena has again achieved a market cap of more than $3 billion and is gradually approaching its pre-COVID-19 share price, which was $10.16 on February 1.

The Australian stock market hit a record level on February 20 with South Australia’s largest companies reaching a combined market capitalisation of $43 billion. By March 20, the same 10 companies had a market capitalisation of just over $23 billion.

Overall, the ASX closed up 4.2 per cent for the month of May. However, the result was on track to be even stronger before a sell off on Friday saw the All Ordinaries index fall 85.6 points, or 1.44 per cent, to 5,872.2.

Friday’s sell-off was sparked after China went ahead with a controversial national security law for Hong Kong that set up renewed tension with the United States.

Of the state’s smaller listed companies, Archer Materials had a booming month, more than tripling its share price from $0.18 on May 1 to $0.65 at market close on Friday.

Archer targets high-value minerals including graphite, kaolin, copper and nickel. The company has moved into advanced materials development in recent years and is developing quantum chip technology.

Its share price has skyrocketed since announcing on May 5 it had reached an agreement with IBM to develop its quantum computing technology.

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