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July was another big month for ASX shares, with some enjoying tailwinds as others faced fresh troubles.
ASX travel companies came under renewed pressure with the COVID-19 delta variant seeing much of Australia’s eastern seaboard enduring a new wave of extended lockdowns.
Global markets were also roiled by further crackdowns in China, hitting tech shares and education companies.
Cybersecurity shares were, broadly, among the winners, with hackers remaining a top concern for governments and businesses around the globe.
This saw the Betashares Global Cybersecurity ETF (ASX: HACK) gain 6.5% in July. By comparison the All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO) gained a more modest 1.6% in July.
If you’re not familiar with HACK, the exchange traded fund (ETF) provides ASX investors with exposure to 39 leading global cyber security shares.
Its top holdings include Zscaler (7.0%), Crowdstrike Holdings (6.4%), Accenture (6.4%), and Cisco Systems (5.9%).
HACK’s strong run in July coincides with Saxo Markets’ report, released today, on the performance of their equity theme baskets in July.
Cyber security shares lift on demand and sentiment
According to Saxo Markets, cyber security shares led the pack among its equity baskets’ performance in July:
Cyber security was the big winner in July, up 5.1% driven by positive news sentiment and strong earnings momentum for the industry.
Last Wednesday, [US President Joe] Biden signed an executive order on cyber security which aims at upgrading the US on cyber security efforts and ensure the US is prepared for cyber-attacks, which recently included the big Colonial Pipeline which is critical US infrastructure.
Small-cap ASX cyber security share Archtis Ltd (ASX: AR9) also enjoyed a strong run in July, with shares closing the month up 40%.
With a current market cap of $79 million, you won’t find Archtis among HACK’s blue-chip holdings. Zscaler, for example, has a market cap of approximately AU$45 billion.
At the bottom of Saxo’s July performance list
With Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government continuing its crack down on tech companies and targeting the for-profit education market as well last month, Saxo’s worst-performing basket was its China Consumer & Technology basket, down 11.9% in July.
According to Saxo:
China is moving away from the previous economic growth at all-costs model emulated on the US/Hong Kong success to that of Germany with a much deeper focus on high-end technology clusters working together and with more frugal values emphasising less on consumption.
The new trajectory is also hitting Chinese IPOs in the US and caused an 11.9% decline in our China Consumer & Technology basket in July driven by foreign investors recalibrating their exposure to emerging markets and China.
China’s CSI 300 Index fell 8% in July. With a 12-month gain now whittled down to 7.7%, it now counts among the worst performers over the past year among the major global exchanges.
Spiralling back to cyber shares and HACK…
How has this ASX cyber security ETF been performing?
Over the past 12 months the HACK share price is up 31%, compared to a gain of 26% posted by the All Ords.
Year-to-date, the ASX cyber security ETF has gained 11%. Shares are down 1% in intraday trading today.