Australian Stock Market Weekly Summary

Despite a slow start, the Aussie stock market finished last week comfortably in positive territory.

The market put on 54 points (+1.1%) for the week, to close at 4872.

The info-tech sector led the week’s gains, with telcos and energy stocks not far behind.

Computershare (CPU) and Iress Technology (IRE) sparked the info-tech sector, with CPU rising 3.9%, and IRE soaring 4.3%.

Telstra’s (TLS) share price surged 3.6% for the week, after the Federal government delayed the debate to split it up until May.

Arrow Energy (AOE) was placed in a trading halt on Friday on speculation that Royal Dutch Shell and PetroChina would sweeten their takeover offer.  AOE’s share price rose 1.7% for the week.

Other energy stocks also recorded decent gains for the week.  Oil Search (OSH) rocketed 4.7%, and Woodside Petroleum (WPL) climbed 2.9%.

Stock market giant Rio Tinto (RIO) and Chinalco signed a US$1.35 billion agreement on Friday to jointly develop the Simandou mine in Guinea.  RIO inched 0.3% higher for the week, and BHP Billition (BHP) advanced 0.8%.

David Jones (DJS) announced a 10.2% jump in 1H10 profit, however a cautious sales outlook saw its share price sink 4.7%.  Rival Myer Holdings (MYR) slumped 3.7%.

Among consumer staples stocks, Metcash (MTS) announced the closure of its Campbells Cash & Carry business.  Its share price dipped 1.2%, Wesfarmers (WES) declined 0.6%, whilst Woolworths (WOW) advanced 1%.

The financial sector also edged higher, with Australia and New Zealand Bank (ANZ) jumping 3.5%, and Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC) gaining 2% for the week.

The major economic news for the week that impacted the stock market was the RBA’s minutes for March.  The central bank noted that the Australian economy is on track to achieve trend growth in the next two years.