Australian Stock Market Report – Afternoon August 22, 2014

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By Tom Piotrowski, CommSec Market Analyst | August 22, 2014 7:50 PM EST

Floor traders work during afternoon trading at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in this November 6, 2013 file photo. Hong Kong is working night and day to launch an initiative that will let global investors trade Chinese stocks from the city for the first time and secure the former British colony's position among the world's pre-eminent share markets. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/Files (CHINA - Tags: BUSINESS)
Floor traders work during afternoon trading at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in this November 6, 2013 file photo. Hong Kong is working night and day to launch an initiative that will let global investors trade Chinese stocks from the city for the first time and secure the former British colony's position among the world's pre-eminent share markets. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/Files (CHINA - Tags: BUSINESS)

ASX 200 posts another weekly gain

 The local share market spent the final session of the week consolidating on the improvements of the last 5 days. Friday's gain meant that the ASX 200 has risen by just under 1.5% this week. The status quo amongst the sectors largely remained the same over the course of the second half of the day. Miners remained under pressure reflecting the weaker Chinese PMI data seen on Thursday.

 Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) led the way lower amongst the bulk miners with a loss of almost 2 per cent. BHP and Rio Tinto (RIO) each shed in the range of half a per cent. junior miners Atlas Iron (AIO) and Mount Gibson fell in the neighbourhood of 5 per cent.

 The property sector ended flat although shares in Federation Centres (FDC) rose following the release of full year results. The Shopping centre giant said a net profit rose to $441.3 million in the last year, up from $212.7 million. Underlying earnings rose by 8.2 per cent to $242.9 million. Helping the rise of the stock was the extra distribution of 0.4 cents per security on top of the final distribution of 7.8 cents per security which saw distributions rise by 11.3 % compared with the prior year. FDC forecast 2015 distributions to be in the range of 18.0 to 18.3 cents per security. FDC shares closed with a 3.5 per cent gain.

 Beach Energy (BPT) stood out in an improving energy sector. The group announced write downs totalling more than $162 million, which will see the energy producer report a net profit after tax of $101.8 million. BPT sees underlying net profit after tax to be $259.2 million. Additionally its Egyptian exploration assets were marked down by more than $148 million and the Paralana Geothermal Project which was valued at $13.6m was written off. BPT shares ended with a loss of more than 1 per cent.

 It was all quiet on the western front where Qantas was concerned. In the last day the airline has said it is yet to make a decision on the future of its frequent flyer business. Speculation has suggested plans for a partial float or sale of the $2.5 billion business has been put on ice. Qantas shares ended down 1.5 per cent ahead of results next Thursday. Next week brings with a number of important economic results. The QII private investment data is the key domestic economic release in the coming week. Other Australian data includes the QII construction work done and the July RBA private sector credit figures.

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Floor traders work during afternoon trading at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in this November 6, 2013 file photo. Hong Kong is working night and day to launch an initiative that will let global investors trade Chinese stocks from the city for the first time and secure the former British colony's position among the world's pre-eminent share markets. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/Files (CHINA - Tags: BUSINESS)
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