ASX drops as global worries weigh

The S&P / ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has fallen for the second consecutive day, losing 0.7% to end at 5,130. More weak data from China, and poor local building approval numbers pulled the market down, not helped by commodities prices dropping overnight and concerns over other economies.

The Australian dollar has dropped against the US dollar, now buying 102.4 cents.

These three stocks were the best performers in the top 20.

Westfield Group (ASX: WDC) added 1.2% to close at $11.73. Earlier this week, Westfield announced that it was exiting its joint venture in Brazilian shopping centres, after just two years. While the partnership was expected to bring in significant revenues in the lead up to next year’s Soccer World Cup and the Olympic Games in 2016, Westfield said the two partners were split by strategic differences.

Macquarie Group Limited (ASX: MQG) rose 1% ending at $38.88. Australia’s largest home-grown investment bank is expected to report its full year profit for the 12 months to end of March, later this week. While its investment banking and securities division are struggling, Macquarie has several other levers it can pull to drive growth until market activity picks up further. In February, the group advised that it expected operating net profit to be up around 10% on the previous year, and is expected to report tomorrow.

Telstra Corporation (ASX: TLS) continues its climb as investors seek the security of high dividend yielding stocks. It’s shares finished the day up 0.6% at $5.06. How much higher it can go, no one knows, but Bell Potter’s Charlie Aitken has a $5.80 target on the stock. He even suggested that could be conservative.

With its legendary, fully franked 28 cent dividend, Telstra is the darling of Aussie investors. Chances are even if you don’t own Telstra shares directly, your superannuation fund does. But with its share price skyrocketing over the past year, is Telstra past its prime? Click here for our brand-new report: Buy, Sell, or Hold Telstra?

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