Australian shares down in Asia's wake
The All Ordinaries finished slightly in the black this week, while the ASX 200 finished slightly in the red, after negative sentiment in Asia on Friday saw a sell-off in local resource stocks, which helped to erase most of the week's gains.
For the week, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 slipped 1.8 points, at 4972.1 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index rose 1.9 points at 4959.3 points.
On Friday morning, market watchers said global sentiment had been broadly positive after Thursday night's rally on US markets. The S&P 500 had reached a record high, while European equities also rallied.
The optimism even spread to the Portuguese bond market as political negotiations continued there.
"US data printed on the strong side, the European Central Bank relaxed some collateral rules, and the second leg of US Federal Reserve chairman Bernanke's testimony to Congress did not upset the mood," Westpac strategist Sean Callow wrote of the situation on Friday morning.
The local market rose above 5000 points early on Friday, boosted by the gains on Wall Street that took the US stocks to record highs.
But selling took hold from late morning as other markets in the region lost ground. Japan's market posted the largest falls, due to talk of a rise in sales tax and an upper house election to be held on the weekend.
Market watchers will be keeping an eye on the G20 meeting this weekend. Global finance ministers and central bank governors will meet in Moscow, with the joint communique due on Saturday afternoon local time.
"One of the topics under discussion will be the spillover impact of a potential US Federal Reserve reduction in stimulus," Mr Callow said. "South Korea has been among those worried about spillover increases in its yields as a result of a rise in US Treasury yields, while the European Central Bank and Bank of England have also declared the impact unwelcome, without admitting it was driven by US Fed expectations."
For the week, Billabong International rose 17¢, or 74 per cent, at 40¢, after a refinancing deal.
BHP Billiton rose 55¢, or 1.7 per cent, at $33.86. Its shareholders could be in for a cash bonanza after the big miner posted record production numbers.
Insurance Australia Group slipped 7¢, or 1.2 per cent, at $5.85, despite its expectations for improvement.
Orica fell $3.29, or 15.3 per cent, at $18.19 after reducing its full-year profit guidance by 10 per cent, blaming global economic conditions and high costs for its tunnelling business.
Rio Tinto rose $1.49, or 2.7 per cent, at $56.23 after boosting iron ore production. Santos fell 20¢, or 1.4 per cent, at $13.74. Sydney Airport rose 11¢, or 3.1 per cent, at $3.64. Woolworths fell 69¢, or 2 per cent, at $33.30 and Woodside Petroleum gained 25¢, at $37.73.