Australian Stock Market Report – Afternoon 3/7/14

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By tom Piotrowski, CommSec Market Analyst | March 7, 2014 5:51 PM EST

CommSec Evening Report

The last 5 trading days have seen the local market progress as investor focus shifted from the concerns surrounding The Ukraine and Russia towards more encouraging news in relation to the domestic economy. As a result the market recovered from the 0.4% loss on Monday to be ahead by almost 1% for the week at the close of trade this afternoon. 

Reuters
Ukraine Peace Deal Halts Violence but Crowds still Angry

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The ASX 200 started to fade in the early part of the afternoon before a late revival helped the market post a gain of 0.3% for the session. Sector performances remained the same over the course of the day with the Energy and Technology sectors tending to be the front runners at the expense of the Financials and Telecoms which were the under performers. 

Westpac (WBC) was the laggard amongst the big 4. The lender announced that chief financial officer Phil Coffey had been promoted to be deputy chief executive. The newly created position will see Mr Coffey work directly with CEO Gail Kelly on ´´critical strategic issues´´ including overseeing the bank´s contribution to the federal government´s inquiry into the financial system. Deputy CFO Peter King has been promoted to the role of CFO. The market reaction today was less likely to be a reflection of the management changes and more to do with the stock's performance. Since the start of February WBC shares have risen by almost 10% compared to a 5% rise for the ASX200.

Since Wednesday shares in Leightons Holdings (LEI) have risen by more than 14% prompting a query from the ASX. LEI responded saying they were unaware of any reasons that may have contributed to the rally in its share price in recent days. LEI finished the session at $20.72, a gain of $1.48 or 7.7%.

Ratings agency Standard and Poor´s has downgraded Boart Longyear's (BLY) credit rating. The drilling services group has seen its credit rating downgraded to CCC+, from B previously.The shares have fallen 40% since February with the group having posted a net loss of $US620 million for 2013 last month. The result included US$461 million in restructuring costs and asset writedowns. This compared to a $US68 million profit in 2012. BLY shares ended the session at 29 cents , down by 0.5 cents or 1.7%

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Ukraine Peace Deal Halts Violence but Crowds still Angry
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