Banks helped boost the Australian share market 2.1% this week as resources, telecoms and other major sectors also posted solid gains.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index ended on Friday at 5777.20.
Investors overcame jitters mid-week, when they sold the market as much as 3% lower on the back of the government’s capital expenditure data showing business investment was weaker than expected.
Recent selling had left some blue chip companies, including BHP Billiton, trading well below the overall market’s average price-earnings ratio of about 17 times.
BHP rose 1.3% on Friday to $29.59, ending the week 0.55% firmer.
Meanwhile, its recent spin-off South32 fell 5.6% to $2.19 in its second week of trading in heavy volume throughout the week. On Friday it was the day’s most heavily traded company with nearly 62m shares changing hands, followed by Telstra with 18.7m shares traded.
AGL gained 7% over the week after it unveiled a ‘strategic roadmap’ that targets $1bn in asset sales by the end of the 2017 financial year in addition to $200m in cost cuts.
Wesfarmers ended the week nearly 1% ahead at $43.66 and Woolworths was 0.6% softer over the week at $28.
Woolworths shares have fallen more than 4% over the last month, compounding losses over the past year that have seen the stock lose close to $10, or 25% of its share price.
Shares in agricultural chemical maker Nufarm, which have climbed 65% since January, edged a further 1.6% up over the week to $7.75.
Earlier this week, Nufarm announced a distribution deal with major Japanese investor Sumitomo, the latest step in its efforts to recover from tough agricultural conditions in Australia and the US, including restructuring and rationalising local operations.
The inclusion of Video Gaming Technologies (VGT) into Aristocrat Leisure’s portfolio helped drive a revenue and profit jump for the first half of the 2015 financial year of 73.5% and 35.2% respectively.
The slot machine manufacturer today reported revenue for the six months ended 31 March of $685m and statutory profit after tax of $77.6m.
Aristocrat shares ended the week 0.8% higher at $7.80 after nearing a 52-week high of $8.74 earlier in the week.