We finished the week up 23 points (+0.5%) to settle at 4508.
Woodside Petroleum (WPL) slid 1.5% on the back of a tough week for oil prices.
The financials were mostly stronger with all the big banks gaining ground.
Locally, the biggest story of the week was SABMiller’s takeover bid for Foster’s Group (ASX:FGL).
FGL shares jumped nearly 13% for the week. The move also lifted the consumer staples sector.
Telstra (TLS) shares lost around 4% despite announcing an $11 billion NBN deal. This weighed heavily on the telco sector.
Economic News. What Does it Mean?
There was not a lot of important economic data out last week.
Of most interest were the minutes from the last RBA monetary policy (interest rate) meeting.
The comments reinforced the view that the RBA is planning more interest rate hikes as it attempts to control a once-in-a-generation mining boom.
Some small consolation for home owners is the fact that the high Aussie dollar and slowing wages growth means that the RBA doesn’t have its finger on the trigger and interest rates should be left on hold for at least a couple of months longer.
Overseas Market and Commodity Wrap:
Overseas markets were mixed last week, with no clear pattern emerging.
The key theme was the on-again, off-again bailout of Greece, and the implications for European banks and the global financial system.
In the US, comments from Ben Bernanke about the sedate nature of the US economy also failed to reassure investors. The Dow lost 0.6% for the week, and the S&P eased 0.3% but the Nasdaq managed to gain 1.4% for the week, bouncing back from a poor previous week.
European markets were no better, with the FTSE closing down 0.3%. The UK market was particularly hurt by a further plunge in energy prices.
However Asian markets brushed off the negative sentiment from the Northern hemisphere to log strong gains.
The Aussie market was the weakest in the region, but still snapped a four-week losing streak to close with a 0.5% gain.
The Hang Seng rose 2.2% for the week and the Japanese market jumped 3.5% despite another earthquake that put the country on tsunami alert. Mainland China was even stronger, as the Shanghai Composite surged 3.9% as investors recovered from the recent accounting scandals.
Markets were also mixed in the commodity space. Gold fell heavily, down 2.5% for the week and oil prices slumped 2% for the week after 60 million barrels of emergency supplies were released to the market.
Base metals saw some big winners and some losers too. Lead (+5.5%) was the strongest, with good gains also logged by zinc (+3%) and nickel (+2.5%). Copper and aluminium both lost ground.
Precious metals prices were hit hard, with platinum slumping 3.8% and palladium dropping 2.2%.