Australian stocks fall 2.1% over the week
Australian shares slipped 2.1% over the week as gains earlier in the month may have prompted investors to sell for profits.
The S&P/ASX 200 index posted losses for five consecutive days to shed 112.2 points and end Friday at 5,239.4. This week’s decline pared the index’s overall gain in October to 4.3%.
“There’re a few things to keep in mind when we look at the falls this week because we’ve had a very good month, and I think a bit of the money has been taken off the table.
“This has actually been the third best month of the year for our market. The market improved after two months of disappointing returns,” said CommSec market analyst Steven Daghlian.
News on companies’ annual general meetings, earnings releases and quarterly or half-yearly updates have also partly contributed to the market’s selling activities this week, he said.
The ASX 200 was down 3.6% last month, and sank 8.6% in August.
Economic data due to be released next week includes Australian retail spending and the US jobs report, which could set the tone for the Australian market next week, said Daghlian.
He pointed out that Australian traders may want to take note of the change of trading hours in the US markets beginning next week, as the US ends its daylight savings this weekend.
Financials, miners down
The S&P/ASX 200 Financials Index lost 1.7% over the week, dragged down by NAB’s 7.1% slump and ANZ’s 5.8% decline.
NAB kept its full-year dividend unchanged at $1.98 per share despite reporting higher earnings in the 2015 financial year, while ANZ’s FY15 cash profit was up 1%.
Macquarie ended the week 3% higher at $85.70 after the company’s first-half profit surged 58%. Shareholders stand to receive an interim dividend of $1.60 per share, up 23% from a year ago.
“Despite Macquarie pleasing the market with its result, ANZ and NAB were both a bit disappointing to the market with their results so that was a bit of a drag on overall activity,” said Daghlian.
Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 Materials Index slid 4.9%, as iron ore prices falling to below US$50 a tonne hurt mining companies.
BHP Billiton lost 6.4%, while Rio Tinto declined 5.1%.
Shares in Asciano climbed 8.5% today after Qube Holdings acquired a 19.99% stake in the rail and port logistics company in an attempt to block a takeover proposal by Brookfield Infrastructure.
Blackmores fell 4.5% today to $167.67 after hitting an intraday high of $200.04 yesterday.
“With Blackmores, it’s improved in a ridiculous fashion so a 4.5% drop is not much in the grand scheme of things,” said Daghlian.