The Australian share market has finished the trading week marginally higher, retreating from its earlier momentum in a flat afternoon of trade, with losses in financial stocks weighing on the market after a rebound in the materials sector.
Over the week the local market has felt the brunt of mining sell offs in response to commodity price falls, with gold companies in particular feeling the pinch as the precious metal took a plunge.
Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 8 points up to finish at 4,932. Over the week the index dropped 80 points.
The value of trades was $4.5 billion on volume of 823 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
, Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO)
and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
. On the futures market, the SPI is 5 points down.
Wall Street, where all the major indices lost ground over the four trading days this week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 328 points. the S&P 500 Index shed 52 points, the Nasdaq went down by 134 and the 100 Index dropped 117 points.
Hills Holdings Limited (ASX:HIL)
believes its shares are undervalued and may offer a dividend at the end of the financial year. Chairman Jennifer Hill-Ling says the Hills board is of the opinion that the current share price does not reflect the underlying value of its assets, business capability and strong capital position. Shares in Hills Holdings closed 0.45 per cent down at $1.10.
Drillsearch Energy Limited (ASX:DLS)
and joint venture partner Beach Energy Limited (ASX:BPT)
say the commissioning of the Bauer to Lycium Crude Oil pipeline in South Australia will commence next week. The initial installed capacity of the oil export pipeline is 10 thousand barrels per day and a ramp up to full operation is expected by the beginning of May. Shares in Drillsearch closed 12.62 per cent higher at $1.16.
Singapore Telecommunications Limited (ASX:SGT)
owned Optus has won a $60 million contract with Suretek, for the delivery of fixed network and high-speed mobile services.
QBE Insurance Group Limited (ASX:QBE)
has reached a settlement to pay New York regulators $9.7 million in civil penalties and revised practices for insuring troubled mortgage loans.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Materials adding 266 points to close at 8,946.
The worst performing sector was Financials excluding real estate investment trusts, losing 82 points to close at 6,317.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Imdex Limited (ASX:IMD)
, rising 18.05 per cent to close at $1.21. Shares in Medusa Mining Limited (ASX:MML)
and Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Coalspur Mines Limited (ASX:CPL)
, dropping 15 per cent to close at $0.34. Shares in Mirabela Nickel Limited (ASX:MBN)
and Virgin Australia Holdings Limited (ASX:VAH)
also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,421 an ounce, and is down $141.00 over the week. Light crude is $0.75 higher at $US88.75 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $1.034 and is $0.02 up over the week.