Banks and miners both weighed on the Australian market this week, resulting in the benchmark ASX 200 index falling 1.25% over the five days to finish Friday at 5,663 points.
Financial companies shed 2.1% over the week, while materials companies failed to fully recover from a mid-week dip in iron ore price that saw the sector fall 1.5%.
Meanwhile, ongoing talk of price competition at investor days and cuts to profit forecasts resulted in consumer stocks also finishing the week lower.
South32 begins trading
In big news for resources investors this week, BHP spinoff South32 began trading on the ASX on Monday.
Shares debuted on the Australian market at $2.13 each, closing Friday nearly 9% higher at $2.31.
Its first day on the market saw the stock heavily traded, with the BHP share price adjusting lower.
In other resources news, contractor WorleyParsons (ASX: WOR) this week delivered a trading update showing a decline in revenue for the March quarter and outlining further ‘business adjustments’ on the back of the oil price shock, a lower gas price and a fall in the prices of iron ore, copper and coal.
Energy heavyweight Woodside (ASX: WPL) also reported an acceleration in cost cuts necessitated by the low price environment, but said that it is still keeping a lookout for likely acquisition targets.
This week saw supermarket giant Coles confirm a move away from discounted promotional pricing to “stable everyday pricing” of its own brands.
The move follows a statement by Woolworths earlier in the month that indicated a plan to match Aldi’s prices.
In other company news, shares in James Hardie (ASX: JHX) jumped this week after the building products manufacturer posted its full-year profit for the 12 months to 31 March and unveiled a special dividend.