• ASX tech sector falls 3.87% in April, but still outpaces broader markets YTD with a 19.55% rise
  • Rich-lister Richard White increases his stake in ASX-listed music company Vinyl Group in April
  • Video tech player Linius Technologies rises 33% in April after several positive announcements 

After being one of the top performing sectors in 2024 the S&P/ASX 200 Info Tech (ASX:XIJ) index fell 3.87% in April in what was a tough month for global markets.

After a five-month winning streak Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed April down 2.94% as firmer inflation data reduced the chances of rate cuts both in Australia and the US, as well as rising geopolitical tensions which weighed on investor sentiment.

However,  tech continues to be the best performing sector on the ASX in 2024, rising 19.55% YTD as investor interest continues around artificial intelligence (AI).

 

Source: S&P

 

The US NASDAQ Composite index, the bellwether for the global tech sector which rallied by more than 44% in 2023,  fell 4.4% in April reducing its YTD gains to 5.69% as growing concerns surrounding rising inflation and the resulting hawkish sentiment from the Fed led to market jitters.

Heading into May and at its latest meeting on Wednesday the US Fed expectedly left its interest rates unchanged, which is expected to calm markets. The Fed funds rate remains at the range of 5.25%–5.5% with chairman Jerome Powell saying that another rate increase is unlikely.

“I think it’s unlikely that the next policy rate move will be a hike. I’d say it’s unlikely,” Powell says.

“I think we’d need to see persuasive evidence that our policy stance is not sufficiently restrictive to bring inflation sustainably down to 2% over time.

“That’s not what we think we’re seeing.”

ClearBridge Investments director, investment strategy analyst Joshua Jamner, says Powell struck a clearly dovish tone during the FOMC press conference which sparked a rally in risk assets as many investors were positioned for and fearful of a more hawkish bent after a string of hot inflation prints so far this year.

“Powell pointed to lags associated with shelter inflation, stable inflation expectations, and easing wage gains (along with the potential for further supply-side improvements) as reasons to believe that inflation will return to target over time, which reinforces why the Fed doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to hike despite the recent pick-up in inflation readings,” Jamner says.

 

Here are the top ASX Tech Winners for April 2024

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After finding itself on the losers list in March, enterprise loyalty and rewards company Gratifii (ASX:GTI)  bounced back in April, copping a please explain from the local bourse on April 16 about intraday activity.

GTI says it was not aware of any activity, not announced to the market, which could explain the recent trading in securities.

On April 22, GTI announced cash receipts of $8.798m for Q3 FY24, a more than 50$ increase on pcp, which the company says represents a two-year compound average growth rate of 64%.

Australia’s only ASX-listed music company, Vinyl Group (ASX:VNL) had a strong April with several positive announcements, including that RealWise Group Holdings Pty Ltd (RGH) had elected to convert its convertible note into VNL ordinary shares.

VNL says RGH’s full principal balance of $6,955,413 will be converted into stock at a conversion price of 4.482 cents/share. The conversion will see RGH, which is the private investment vehicle of rich-lister WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) CEO and founder Richard White, become the largest shareholder of Vinyl with a ~34% holding.

The eLearning solutions provider Readcloud (ASX:RCL) was up after delivering its March quarterly, showing a record $5.22m in cash receipts from customers – up 44% on the March 2023 quarter – and $1.94m positive net cash from operations, up 52% on the March 2023 quarter.

Video tech player Linius Technologies (ASX:LNU)  also gained in April after several positive announcements including a new agreement to provide its sports solution, Whizzard, to the Lone Star Conference in the US. It is the second US collegiate conference customer for the company, with the Peach Belt Conference already live.

Along with a $600k capital raise in April, LNU also announced record quarterly cash receipts of $232k for Q3 FY24 – 15% higher than Q3 FY23, its previous record high quarter – and up 23% over Q2 FY24. Importantly, LNU says 75% of cash receipts were from recurring fees.

 

Here are the biggest ASX Tech Losers for April 2024

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Dubber Corp (ASX:DUB)  faced ongoing challenges in April following the lifting of a seven-week voluntary suspension on April 17. In late February, the company suspended trading upon discovering a potential $26.6 million shortfall after an audit. CEO Steve McGovern was suspended on March 1 and terminated on April 9 following an investigation.

On April 10, DUB announced a $24.06m capital raising, including a $3.14m institutional placement and a $20.92 million non-renounceable entitlement offer to replenish its balance sheet.

In its April 30 quarterly report, DUB reported flat revenue of $9.6 million for Q3 FY24 compared to Q2 FY24, but a 29% increase year-on-year. This was attributed to business disruption following the announcement of the fund misuse in late February 2024. The company expects the disruption to be short-term and has maintained close communication with partners and customers.