Sharemarket recovering as dollar settles
After the carnage of last week, things were mopped up this week as the sharemarket recovered all its losses and the Australian dollar was far less volatile.
US Federal Reserve authorities did their best to remind short-sellers that they may have misunderstood the Fed's monetary policy announcement last week - the cause of so much consternation in global bond and currency markets.
For the week, the S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 63.8 points, or 1.3 per cent, to 4802.6, while the broader All Ordinaries Index rose 51.6 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 4775.4 points.
Australia's dollar gyrated wildly last week within a 3¢ range, but this week it traded in a much tighter range, of just a third of a cent, to close around US92.6¢. Strategists said the dollar could finally be trading near its "equilibrium value" for the first time since late 2011.
They also said the dollar's so-called "fair value" might be US90¢ throughout 2014, thanks to recent major adjustments on the back of weaker Chinese growth, lower commodity prices and movements in global risk assets and yields.
That's a big change from previous years. A review of news reports from 2011 shows one quoting a foreign currency expert warning that the Australian dollar could hit $US1.70 in 2014.
Meanwhile, figures from the Bureau of Statistics showed it became harder for Australia's unemployed to find work in the last year, with job vacancies falling by 20 per cent. There are now five unemployed people for every vacant job in Australia, with job vacancies falling in the past year and the unemployed increasing by 50,000.
Australia's most authoritative job vacancy survey, compiled by the Bureau of Statistics, shows just 138,700 vacant roles in May, down from 177,800 a year earlier.
For the week, Tabcorp lost 14¢, or 4.4 per cent, to $3.05 after Victoria's two big gaming companies won court action against the state government over levies of more than $42 million imposed on them.
Toll Holdings rose 11¢, or 2.1 per cent, to $5.32 after it reaffirmed its earnings forecast despite weaker earnings from its international freight business.
Metcash rose 8¢, or 2.3 per cent, to $3.52. The supermarket group lifted underlying full-year profit by 6.9 per cent to $281 million. But it has lost market share in its core grocery business as it beds down restructuring and new acquisitions.
Rio Tinto shed 29¢, or 0.5 per cent, to $52.37 after the company decided to retain its diamond businesses following a review that considered options including divestment.
Suncorp slipped 20¢, or 1.6 per cent, to $11.92 after it confirmed it was paying back $23 million to customers who did not receive promoted discounts on their insurance policies.
Blackwood rose 0.4¢, or 8.7 per cent, to 5¢ after former billionaire Nathan Tinkler paid a $12 million bill to the coal explorer that allowed him to avoid moves to freeze his assets.