australian stocks end the week on a flat note 1723722015

Energy, retail and airlines sectors traded higher Friday

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By :  ,  Financial Analyst

With Grexit out of the way, and Chinese stocks stabilising, investors in Australian stocks appeared to be looking for triggers that would give the market its future direction, causing the ASX to end mostly flat on the last day of the week.

Indices and sectors

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.5 points, or 0.0 per cent, and closed at 5,670.1, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 2.7 points, or 0.0 per cent, at 5,652.5.

The top gaining sectors were energy (+0.64 per cent), consumer discretionary (+0.55 per cent), consumer staples (+0.50 per cent) and industrials (+0.36 per cent). The prominent losers were real estate investment trusts (-0.65 per cent), telecommunications services (-0.51 per cent), healthcare (-0.19 per cent) and financials (-0.19 per cent).


Though energy was the top performing sector on Friday, the major stocks put in a mixed performance. While Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) gained 1.21 per cent to AU$34.99 and Origin Energy Ltd (ASX:ORG) was up 1.16 per cent to AU$11.37, Oil Search Limited (ASX:OSH) fell 2.22 per cent to AU$7.04 and Santos Ltd (ASX:STO) declined 0.78 per cent to AU$7.66. Santos said Friday that it had cut capital expenditure by 65 per cent during the second quarter of 2015 compared to the prior year period. However, the company confirmed that its flagship Gladstone LNG project was progressing well towards its first LNG around the end of the third quarter, as reported by the ABC.

In mining, BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) rose 0.07 per cent to AU$27.10, Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) fell 0.56 per cent to AU$53.01, and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) declined 2 per cent to AU$1.72.

Banks too put in a mixed performance. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) gained just 0.02 per cent to AU$87.98 and National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX:NAB) was up 0.06 per cent to AU$34.34. However, Westpac Banking Corp (ASX:WBC) fell 0.17 per cent to AU$34.57 and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) was down 0.61 per cent to AU$32.44.

Retailers put in a strong show ending in the black except for Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX:HVN), which closed unchanged at AU$4.62. Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX:WES), the owner of supermarket chain Coles, was up 0.02 per cent to AU$41.75, Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) shot up 1.14 per cent to AU$28.50, Caltex Australia Limited (ASX:CTX) gained 0.99 per cent to AU$34.54 and Myer Holdings Ltd (ASX:MYR) gained 0.39 per cent to AU$1.28. A standout gainer was Metcash Limited (ASX:MTS) which jumped 10.43 per cent to AU$1.16 on news that it had appointed former Coles executive and grocery guru Steven Cain to help lead the turnaround at the company.

Airlines put in a strong show, too. Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd (ASX:VAH) surged 4.65 per cent to AU$0.450, and Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) jumped 1.40 per cent to AU$3.63 on reports that domestic economy fares during the June quarter jumped over 10 per cent.

Economic news, currency and market outlook

According to a Greek government official, and as reported by ABC, Greek banks will open today after remaining closed for three weeks, though depositors will still be subjected to withdrawal limits. Greeks will be allowed to withdraw up to €420 once per week, instead of the daily limit of just €60 which led to long queues every day at ATMs.

The major stock indices ended mixed on Wall Street Friday, though the NASDAQ ended at a record high on a massive 16 per cent rally in the Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) stock. The S&P 500 closed up 0.11 percent, at 2,126.64 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.19 percent, at 18,086.45, mainly due to weakness in energy stocks and some soft corporate results. The Nasdaq Composite ended up 0.91 percent, at 5,210.14.

The Australian dollar is trading lower after the US dollar strengthened on news that Greece had revamped its government towards implementing the recent bailout agreement conditions. At 07:00 this morning (AEST) the local currency was trading at 73.82 US cents, down from 74.08 US cents on Friday, according to Business Spectator.

The Australian stock market is likely to open mostly flat today given that at 06:45 am (AEST) this morning the September ASX SPI200 Index (AP) Futures was down 1 point at 5,612.

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