The week in stocks

Confessions and profit warnings at AGMs dominated the week and cast a shadow over the outlook.

A quiet week on the data front left the ASX 200 to determine its own fortune for the week. All up, the market was pushed 1.7 per cent higher, led by the materials sector, as the benchmark index flirts with moving above 5,400 points.

Company specific moves were driven by commentary coming from annual general meetings, which is doubling as a confession session for some and quarterly production updates.

BHP Billiton

BHP Billiton followed in Rio Tinto’s footsteps and reported an 11 per cent increase in production across the board for the September quarter. The production numbers have BHP on track to meet full-year production guidance.

Iron ore represents over half of BHPs earnings and was always going to be the focus of the market. The segment didn’t disappoint, with iron ore reporting a 23 per cent increase in production on the previous September quarter and a guidance upgrade for the full year.

Confirmation of increased iron ore production from Australia’s two largest miners helped propel the miners and broader market higher over the course of the week.

Origin Energy

Providing a quarterly update at the annual general meeting (AGM), Origin as with AGL Energy detailed a warmer winter will impact full year earnings.

Origin still hasn’t provided a specific guidance for this financial year, which is an interesting decision and could reflect their cautious views of earnings for the remainder of the year. The market hasn’t been bothered with this, sending the stock up since the AGM.

It was made clear earnings for the rest of this year will be sporting a hangover from the aggressive discounting that took place last year in response to tough competition with a full earnings rebound not expected until financial year ending 2015. The reaction of the market this week suggests this is already priced in.

ResMed

Investors pushed ResMed over 7 per cent lower on Friday. The sleep device maker had a record September quarter but missed earnings per share estimates by a mere two cents after reporting a number of 56 cents per share. The earnings per share number for this September quarter came in 14 per cent higher than the previous September quarter.

All up, numbers for the September quarter were overwhelmingly positive – revenue and net income both increased against the previous September quarter.

Forward guidance from chief executive office Mick Fuller remained positive for the year ahead, but investors were left feeling disappointed over the lower earnings per share number. Before September quarter results were released analysts were confident on ResMed with target prices comfortably over $6.