The benchmark ASX 200 share market index fell 1.6% this week to end on 5,878 points, with a positive week for energy stocks not enough to offset declines in other sectors.
During the week an unexpected drop in Australia’s unemployment rate, which fell to 6.1%, cast doubt over whether the Reserve Bank will cut the interest rate further in May.
In company news, a number of mining companies reported quarterly production number this week, with shares in Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) receiving a temporary boost after the miner said the cost of producing a tonne of high quality iron ore delivered to China had been reduced by 17% from the previous quarter.
Santos (ASX: STO) shares also ended the week up 5.6% at $7.96 with first quarter production increasing 15%, while Woodside (ASX:WPL) shares finished up 1.2% at $35.42 after the oil and gas producer said it was set to grow despite the impact of the downturn in oil prices.
Gold and copper miner PanAust (ASX: PNA) rejected a billion dollar takeover bid this week, describing the offer as inadequate.
Investors reacted positively to a decision by Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC) to sell its Nine Live business to private equity firm Affinity Equity Partners for $640m, with shares in the diversified media company ending the week up 6.1% at $2.27.
Shares in M2 Group also increased 5.9% to $11.04 during the week after the telecommunications provider bought New Zealand based company Call Plus for NZ$250m (AUD$245m).
Property and infrastructure firm Lend Lease (ASX:LLC) said it was not expecting a decision by the Victorian Government to quit the East West Link to have a material impact on its earnings, while Patties Foods (ASX:PFL) said the financial impact of its frozen berry recall was still unknown.
Seven Group Holdings (ASX:SVW) and Suncorp (ASX:SUN) both appointed new chief executives this week, with Seven announcing its current chief operating officer (COO) Ryan Stokes would move into the role.
Current chief executive of GPT Group (ASX:GPT) Michael Cameron will take the top job at Suncorp.