Australian stocks drop 1% over the week
Australian shares declined 1% over the week, with losses led by the materials and utilities sectors.
The S&P/ASX 200 index shed 53.5 points over five days to end the week at 5,202.6. The benchmark gauge was down 0.7% so far this month, which has one trading day left.
“The materials sector was the worst performing once again. This was led by BHP Billiton which traded at its lowest level since the depth of the GFC [global financial crisis] in 2008,” said Romano Sala Tenna, a portfolio manager at Perth-based Katana Asset Management.
“In the coming week, the focus will be on the US, as we await Janet Yellen’s speech on Wednesday followed by jobless claims, non-farm payrolls and employment data,” he said.
The Australian dollar traded at 72.29 US cents at around 4:30pm AEDT, slightly below last Friday’s level.
BHP, Slater & Gordon down
Eight of the 10 sectors in the ASX 200 fell this week. For the two sectors that increased, energy and health care, both their gains were below 0.7%.
The S&P/ASX 200 Materials Index sank 5% over the week, as BHP slumped 8.4% to $18.77.
Meanwhile, Slater & Gordon was the worst performing stock on the ASX 200 this week.
The stock nosedived 74% to 69 cents, after the law firm said a potential legislative change proposed by the UK government may restrict claims for minor injury in traffic accidents.
“With the debt pile now more than twice the market capitalisation, shareholders are becoming increasingly nervous,” said Sala Tenna.
Transurban Group (ASX: TCL) resumed trading after a three-day halt, advancing 1.8% today to $10.51, after the company said on Tuesday it was acquiring a highway in Brisbane for $1.87bn, about half of the construction cost.