The Australian sharemarket was an outlier in May, with stocks rising just over 1 per cent while most of the world’s other equity markets fell. Communications services was the leading sector.
Global stocks appeared to be falling in response to the worsening trade war between the United States and China and fears about its impact on the global economy. The US S&P 500 was down 6.6 per cent and the MSCI All Country World Index was down 6.1 per cent.
In the local market, communications services was the top performing sector, with share prices up by 7.1 per cent on average.
The top stocks in the sector were Domain Holdings, which was up 21.9 per cent in May, Nine Entertainment (up 18.9 per cent), OOH!Media (up 12.2 per cent), REA Group (up 11.4 per cent) and Telstra (up 8 per cent).
The sector is also the top performer over the past 12 months – up by 28.5 per cent.
Other strong sectors in May were healthcare, which was up 3.5 per cent, materials (up 3 per cent) and real estate (up 2.6 percent).
In the healthcare sector the top performers were Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals, which rose 44.3 per cent, Polynove, Resmed and Pro Medicus.
In the real estate sector, the top performers were SGP, which rose 17.5 per cent, Lendlease (up 7.1 per cent), Mirvac (up 7.1 per cent) and Charter Hall (up 5.4 per cent).
The sectors that lagged included consumer staples, which fell 4.2 per cent in April, energy (down 3.8 per cent) and information technology (down 3.1 per cent).
The top performing S&P/ASX 100 stocks in May were Evolution Mining, which rose 21.3 per cent, Fortescue Metals (up 20.6 per cent), Nine Entertainment ((up 18.9 per cent), Northern Star Resources (up 18.6 per cent), Stockland (up 17.5 per cent), Medibank Private (up 15.7 per cent) and Seek, (up 14.8 per cent).
The worst performers were Reliance Worldwide, which fell 24.8 per cent, Bluescope Steel (down 21.6 per cent), Link Administration (down 21.4 per cent), IOOF (down 18.3 per cent), Pendal (down 18.3 per cent), Janus Henderson (down 14 per cent) and Treasury Wine Estates (down 12.5 per cent).