The Australian stock market managed to end the week higher on Friday, but was flat for the Friday session, despite many gold mining companies losing close to 10 per cent of their value.
Gold prices dropped 2.7 per cent over the course of the week, from $US1510 per ounce on Monday down to a three-month low of $US1469 on Friday afternoon. Towards the end of the week traders moved away from safe havens such as bonds and gold and back into risky assets after comments from senior Chinese officials that both the US and China would remove tariffs. However, there was mixed reports about whether the White House would follow through with these plans.
The move away from bonds pushed down stocks that are usually synchronised to bond prices such as commercial real estate and utilities, with both these sectors ending Friday’s session down about 1.2 per cent, compared to a 0.04 per cent drop in the broader market.
The S&P/ASX 200 ended Friday 2.5 points lower, but over the week it gained 55 points and managed to close above 6700 for two sessions in a row. While gold and real estate dropped, the building product suppliers enjoyed a surge as one of the biggest companies in the sector – James Hardie – painted a rosy picture of future profits.