Market Wrap: ASX bull run takes a breather

Market Reports

A bullish seven day winning streak came to a standstill for the Australian share market today. Shrugging off record closing highs on Wall Street local stocks ended Friday in the red but gained almost 1 per cent over the week. The benchmark hit six year highs as geopolitical concerns were offset by upbeat economic data and encouraging US earnings. In the week ahead the US Federal Reserve is expected to trim its bond buying program by an extra $US10 billion to $US25 billion per month. 
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 4 points today, trimming the weekly advance of 52 points to end the week at 5,584. 
 
The value of trades was $5.74 billion on volume of 660 million shares at the close of trade. 
 
The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 3 points lower.
 
Wall Street
 
US major indexes have climbed over the four trading days this week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has jumped 0.6 per cent. The S&P 500 Index has risen 1.5 per cent. The NASDAQ has soared 2.4 per cent. The 100 Index has gained 2.6 points. 
 
Company news 
 
Flight Centre Travel Group Limited (ASX:FLT) has flagged a 7 per cent fall in pre-tax profit due to write downs and an $11 million price fixing penalty. The travel group’s write-downs relate to a softer than expected performance from its US and Indian operations. Looking ahead the company is positive about its prospects and had advised the tragic loss of MH17 is likely to have only have a modest impact on results. Shares in Flight Centre Travel Group fell 1.06 per cent to end the week at $46.80. 
 
Kingsgate Consolidated Limited (ASX:KCN) has achieved record production over the 2014 financial year. The gold miner reported 209,500 ounces of gold output to reach the top end of its guidance range. Kingsgate says it will continue to pursue strategies to adapt to the volatile operating environment for gold producers in order to maximise shareholder returns. Shares in Kingsgate Consolidated rose 2.26 per cent to end the week at $0.91.
 
Shares in Acrux Limited (ASX:ACR) soared 31.6 per cent after appointing Michael Kotsanis as its new chief and revealing Axiron sales results and royalties. The drug delivery business will receive $US22.3 million in royalties from Axiron annual sales in addition to a milestone payment of $US25 million. 
 
Shares in GUD Holdings Limited (ASX:GUD) slumped 8.08 per cent after narrowing its annual net profit almost 44 per cent. The appliance manufacturer has described the last year as one of transition and affirmed its commitment to continuing its restructuring program. 
 
Best and worst performers 
 
The best performing sector was financials excluding real estate investment trusts, adding 0.4 per cent to close at 7,341.
The worst performing sector was consumer staples, losing 0.8 per cent to close at 10,018 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Skilled Group Limited (ASX:SKE), rising 4.49 per cent to close at $2.56. Shares in Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI) and Mermaid Marine Australia Limited (ASX:MRM) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was GUD Holdings Limited (ASX:GUD), dropping 8.08 per cent to close at $6.60. Shares in Mesoblast Limited (ASX:MSB) and Sirius Resources NL (ASX:SIR) also closed lower. 
 
IPOs 
 
OneVue Holdings Limited (ASX:OVH) started trading today. The wholesale service provider to the wealth management industry floated with an issue price of $0.35, opened at $0.33 and closed at $0.31.    
 
Commodities
 
The price of gold is trading at $US1,292 an ounce, down $19.16 over the week. 
Light crude is $1.05 lower at $US102.07 a barrel. 
 
Currencies
 
The Australian dollar is buying $0.9416, up over the week.