The Australian stock market posted another slight gain last week on the back of takeover activity and steady employment numbers.
The market advanced 51 points (+1.1%) for the week, to close at 4818.
The telco, energy, and utilities sectors were the week’s top performers.
Telco giant Telstra (TLS) had a stellar week with its share price soaring 5.2%.
Energy stocks were sparked by Arrow Energy (AOE), who received a takeover offer from Royal Dutch Shell and PetroChina. The news saw AOE’s share price skyrocket 49% during the week.
BHP Billiton (BHP), which is the biggest company in the Australian stock market, managed to secure a 55% increase in coal prices for the June quarter. Its share price rose 0.8% for the week, while rival Rio Tinto (RIO) climbed 1.3%.
Alesco Corporation (ALS) was the week’s biggest loser after announcing a major cut in FY10 guidance. Its share price crashed 33.2%.
Australia and New Zealand Bank (ANZ) was the week’s top major bank, with its share price up 1.8%. Insurance Australia Group (IAG) announced a cut in FY10 insurance margin guidance due to recent storm damage in Victoria. Its share price slumped 2.5%.
Consumer staples giant Wesfarmers (WES) dropped 2.2%, while rival Woolworths (WOW) advanced 1.5%.
Among the retailers, Myer Holdings (MYR) announced a 38% jump in 1H10 profit. Its stock advanced 3.2% for the week, while rival David Jones (DJS) jumped 3.4%.
The major economic event which moved the Australian stock market during the week was February’s jobs numbers. The unemployment rate edged slightly higher to 5.3%, with the economy adding 400 jobs.