The benchmark ASX 200 share market index fell 1.6% this week to end on 5,878 points, with a positive week for energy stocks not enough to offset declines in other sectors.
During the week an unexpected drop in Australia’s unemployment rate, which fell to 6.1%, cast doubt over whether the Reserve Bank will cut the interest rate further in May.
In company news, a number of mining companies reported quarterly production number this week, with shares in Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) receiving a temporary boost after the miner said the cost of producing a tonne of high quality iron ore delivered to China had been reduced by 17% from the previous quarter.
Santos (ASX: STO) shares also ended the week up 5.6% at $7.96 with first quarter production increasing 15%, while Woodside (ASX:WPL) shares finished up 1.2% at $35.42 after the oil and gas producer said it was set to grow despite the impact of the downturn in oil prices.
Takeover activity and new appointments
Gold and copper miner PanAust (ASX: PNA) rejected a billion dollar takeover bid this week, describing the offer as inadequate.
Investors reacted positively to a decision by Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC) to sell its Nine Live business to private equity firm Affinity Equity Partners for $640m, with shares in the diversified media company ending the week up 6.1% at $2.27.
Shares in M2 Group also increased 5.9% to $11.04 during the week after the telecommunications provider bought New Zealand based company Call Plus for NZ$250m (AUD$245m).
Property and infrastructure firm Lend Lease (ASX:LLC) said it was not expecting a decision by the Victorian Government to quit the East West Link to have a material impact on its earnings, while Patties Foods (ASX:PFL) said the financial impact of its frozen berry recall was still unknown.
Seven Group Holdings (ASX:SVW) and Suncorp (ASX:SUN) both appointed new chief executives this week, with Seven announcing its current chief operating officer (COO) Ryan Stokes would move into the role.
Current chief executive of GPT Group (ASX:GPT) Michael Cameron will take the top job at Suncorp.