the asx caps off a volatile week with a positive close friday 1597772015

The energy and financial sectors end with good gains

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By :  ,  Financial Analyst

Australian stocks signed off last week with a flourish, clocking solid gains on Friday in line with the strong close overnight on Wall Street, and offshore investors returned to the ASX. Bargain-hunting after Thursday’s sell off and gradual interest rate hikes amidst a dovish view of the Fed’s ‘liftoff’ policy offset concerns of a ‘Grexit’ from the Eurozone.

Indices and sectors 

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose 72.1 points, or 1.3 per cent, and closed at 5,597.0, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 68.8 points, or 1.2 per cent, at 5,591.5.

There were no sectors that closed with losses. The biggest gaining sectors were real estate investment trusts (+2.49 per cent), industrials (+1.67 per cent), energy (+1.43 per cent), financials (+1.41 per cent) and utilities (+1.28 per cent).


In mining, BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) shot up 1.57 per cent to AU$28.41, Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) rose 1.09 per cent to AU$55.55 and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) was up 1.41 per cent to AU$2.16.

In energy, Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) rose 0.82 per cent to AU$35.64, Origin Energy Ltd (ASX:ORG) gained 1.32 per cent to AU$13.08, Oil Search Limited (ASX:OSH) was up 2.04 per cent to AU$7.51 and Santos Ltd (ASX:STO) finished 0.60 per cent higher at AU$8.36.

The big four banks closed with sizeable gains. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) surged 1.53 per cent to AU$84.47, National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX:NAB) was up 1.60 per cent to AU$33.66, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) gained 1.20 per cent to AU$32.76 and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX:WBC) moved up 0.99 per cent to AU$32.80.

In retailers, Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX:WES), the owner of supermarket chain Coles, was unchanged at AU$40.20, Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) surged 2.63 per cent to AU$27.30, Caltex Australia Limited (ASX:CTX) rose 1.58 per cent to AU$32.81 and Myer Holdings Ltd (ASX:MYR) jumped 2.81 per cent to AU$1.28. Subject to clearance by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, independent supermarket chain Supabarn on Friday announced the sale of all but two ACT, NSW stores to Coles. Supabarn said the divestments were in line with a policy decision by directors to scale down for family reasons, as reported by ABC.

Economic news, currency and market outlook

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has made new proposals over the weekend that could help ease the stalemate in the negotiations between Greece and its creditors. According to the ABC, Mr Tsipras unveiled his new debt plan on a telephone call with German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Francois Hollande and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. On Monday, a crisis summit of 19 Eurozone leaders is scheduled to be held in Brussels.

Stocks fell on Wall Street on Friday, driven by apprehensions surrounding the Greek situation. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 101.56 points, or 0.56 percent, to 18,014.28, the S&P 500 lost 11.48 points, or 0.54 percent, to 2,109.76 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 15.95 points, or 0.31 percent, to 5,117.00.

The Australian dollar is trading higher following weakness in the US dollar on Greek concerns. According to the Business Spectator, at 07:00 this morning (AEST) the Aussie was trading at 77.67 US cents, up from 77.63 US cents on Friday.

The Australian stock market is likely to open flat today given that at 7.00 am (AEST) this morning the September ASX SPI200 Index (AP) Futures was down 3 points at 5,538, according to Business Spectator.

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