The ASX is heading for a weak start today after Wall Street sold off again on Friday as the surge in US interest rates overwhelmed the jobs report for September.
Eurozone shares fell 0.9% on Friday and the US S&P 500 fell 0.6% and ASX 200 futures fell 28 points or 0.5% meaning that the solid end to last week’s trading will not be repeated today.
High oil prices and a small gain in the price of gold helped energy and some resource stocks last week, but will be missing in action for today at least.
The ASX 200 index ended up 9.2 points, or 0.2%, on Friday to close at 6,185.5 but that was 22.1 points lower (or 0.4%) from the previous week’s close.
BHP led the market as the price of oil hit a four-year high mid-week. BHP closed the week 2.5% higher at $35.50, Origin Energy rose 4% to $8.59 and Woodside Petroleum shares closed at $39.00, up 1.1%.
Shares in the Kerry Stokes-dominated, beach Energy fell 1.4% last week to $2.11 after a 3.6% slide on Friday on news it had sold a stake in its Otway Basin project to an Israeli company and trimmed its sales and profit forecasts.
Gold miners also ended the week higher as the price perked up in the face of higher US rates and a stronger greenback. Saracen Mineral Holdings shares closed the week 6.7% higher at $1.99, St Barbara shares jumped 6% to $3.70 and Newcrest Mining shares ended up 0.9% at $19.59.
Copper and gold miner, OZ Minerals ended with a 1.2% rise over the week to $9.44, but a 2% slide on Friday trimmed the gain. Rio Tinto shares topped the $80 level on Friday to close the week up 1.6% at $80.06.
Bank shares though were again unsteady – the Commonwealth Bank fell 2% over the week to $70.00. NAB fell 2.2% to $27.21, Westpac closed down 1.6% at $27.49 and ANZ ended the week at $27.72, for a loss of 1.6%.
After reporting a weak full-year result, but maintaining the dividend, shares in the Bank of Queensland eased 2% over the week to close at $10.79. That was despite a small rise in its net interest margin over the year as it lifted rates on home loans.
A2 Milk was again weaker, the shares dropping nearly 6% to $9.64 as investors continue to quit the stock in the wake of news of share sales by CEO Jayne Hrdlicka and director Peter Hinton.
Alumina exposed stocks performed particularly well as a full shutdown of the Brazil-based Alunorte, the world’s largest alumina refinery, sidelined 5% of the world’s supply of the essential ingredient for aluminum metal production.
But there is now some doubt as to whether that closure will happen with reports that Brazilian authorities are questioning why the refinery will close and asking Norsk Hydro to justify its decision.
But the news saw South32 shares close 8% higher over the week at $4.23 and Alumina Limited shares surged 10.1% to $3.05.
And shares in department store chain, Myer holdings rose nearly 3% to close at 52.5 cents after Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments stirred the pot again by asking for an updated version of the Myer share register ahead of the annual meeting at the end of next month.