The Australian sharemarket notched up its worst week since late April as stocks sold off sharply in the final moments of trade on Friday.
The S&P/ASX200 Index 32.7 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 5927.6 points on Friday. The market tumbled around 30 points in the final 15 minutes of trade.
The benchmark fell 3.9 per cent over the week – the worst performance since the week ended April 24 – amid concerns over rising COVID-19 cases in the US and Europe and uncertainty around next week’s US election.
AMP soared 19.5 per cent on Friday after it confirmed that it has received an indicative, non-binding, conditional proposal from Ares Management Corporation to acquire 100 per cent of the shares by way of scheme of arrangement.
AMP says discussions are at a “very preliminary stage” and there is no certainty that a transaction will eventuate. AMP was the second best perfomer in the index over the week with a gain of 12.9 per cent.
ResMed gained 9.5 per cent after the respiratory aid business said its adjusted September quarter net profit grew 37 per cent to $US184.4 million thanks in part to strong sales of ventilators for COVID-19 patients.
Western Areas was hammered 17.7 per cent lower after the nickel producer lowered its full year production guidance and raised its outlook for costs for the 2021 financial year.
The S&P/ASX200 Index gained 1.9 per cent in October, recovering a good portion of the benchmark’s 4 per cent decline in September.
Coca-Cola Amatil was the top performer for the month with a gain of 30.8 per cent after Coca-Cola European Partners unveiled a $9.3 billion bid for the bottler. The stock was also the best perfomer over the week with a gain of 15.6 per cent.
Link Administration was another standout gainer, rising 27.9 per cent after received an offer from a private equity consortium of Carlyle Group and Pacific Equity Partners.
Afterpay rallied 20.9 per cent over the month as the buy now pay later provider said active global customers hit 11.2 million, up 98 per cent on the year to the end of September, and 13 per cent above the 9.9 million reported at the end of June. It struck a transactional banking deal with Westpac earlier in the month.
Mesoblast was the biggest loser for the month, tumbling 39.8 per cent after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), had demanded it complete a further randomised controlled study in adults and/or children to provide more evidence of the effectiveness of its acute-Graft Versus Host Disease treatment.