The Australian share market declined throughout the session to end 0.4 per cent lower today and only slightly higher over the week. Earnings reports saw the benchmark index seesaw lower and higher and even beyond the key 5,900 level mid-week.
Globally traders remained hopeful for Greece’s debt deal and Lunar New Year holidays began across Asia. Central banks were also in focus with Australia’s Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA and the US Federal Reserve both releasing meeting minutes.
The S&P/ASX 200 index retreated 23 points today, erasing much of the weekly gain to end only 4 points higher over the week at 5,882.
The value of trades was $4.5 billion on volume of 709 million shares at the close of trade.
The top three stocks by value were Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL)
, Toll Holdings Limited (ASX:TOL)
and Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS)
On the futures market the SPI is 24 points lower.
America’s major indexes have put in a mixed performance over the shortened trading week following Presidents’ Day on Monday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 0.2 per cent. The S&P 500 Index has added 0.02 per cent. The NASDAQ has added 0.6 per cent. The 100 Index has added 0.6 per cent.
Shares in Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS)
recovered early losses after announcing its CEO David Thodey will step down after almost six years at the helm. Australia’s largest telco has appointed its current chief financial officer Andrew Penn who will take the top spot from the beginning of May. Mr Penn will have big shoes to fill with Telstra’s market value having more than doubled under Mr Thody’s leadership. Shares in Telstra Corporation ended the week flat at $6.61.
Shares in Medibank Private Limited (ASX:MPL)
fell amid growth concerns despite increasing its net profit 10.8 per cent to $151.2 million in the first half of the 2015 financial year. The private medical insurance provider listed in November last year and its first result as a listed company was aided by improved margins and cost control. Shares in Medibank Private fell 3.52 per cent to end the week at $2.47.
Shares in STW Communications Group Limited (ASX:SGN)
plunged to the benchmark index’s worst performer after its annual results missed expectations . The marketing content and communications company described the year as tough and cut its dividend.
James Hardie Industries (ASX:JHX)
rose after posting upbeat results. The building products supplier says its third quarter and nine months results reflect increased volumes across its US, European and Asia Pacific businesses.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was consumer staples, adding 1.5 per cent to close at 10,038.
The worst performing sector was energy, losing 1.6 per cent to close at 11,780 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Tatts Group Limited (ASX:TTS)
, rising 6.08 per cent to close at $4.01. Shares in Mesoblast Limited (ASX:MSB)
and Cardno Limited (ASX:CDD)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was STW Communications Group Limited (ASX:SGN)
, plunging 22.93 per cent to close at $0.79. Shares in Platinum Asset Management Limited (ASX:PTM)
and Transpacific Industries Group Limited (ASX:TPI)
also closed lower.
The price of gold is buying $US1,208 an ounce, down more than $20 over the week.
Light crude is $0.99 lower at $US51.83 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7808, up $0.0023 over the week.