Aside from the banks, the strongest movers of the S&P ASX 100 Index (ASX: XTO) were in sectors — iron miners, department stores and support services — that everyone has been worried about.
Has something started to change? When the gloomy consensus becomes so commonplace, it's a sign to ready your stock shopping list. Here are the top four for the past week.
Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) was up 6% for the week to $5.46. Iron ore prices are trending up, it has about $2 billion in cash, and is planning to pay down some of its $9 billion debt. Ore production is up, and it is increasing capacity to 155 million tonnes a year.
David Jones (ASX: DJS) gained 4% to $3.01 as signs of increased sales were filtering in before the holiday season truly kicks into high gear. Its CEO Paul Zahra is now being urged to reconsider his decision to step down from the position because his turnaround program is gaining traction, especially with better online retailing and dedicated distribution centres to handle internet orders.
Downer EDI (ASX: DOW) ended the week at $5.10, also up 4%. Since the end of October, the company announced new contracts totaling about $1 billion at a time when mining and infrastructure are still recovering from slowdowns. However, at the AGM this week it still said that its earnings expectations for 2014 would be about $215 million, meaning no real growth over 2013.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) hit an all-time high of $79.88 before closing Friday at $79.10, up 4%. For the first quarter 2014, it announced a profit of $2.1 billion, on its way of potentially ending the year at an annualised $8.4 billion. With the share price just under $80, investors may be wanting to see a stock split to reduce the share price, and the bank may be contemplating it itself.
It wouldn't really change the market capitalisation, but Australian investors are not used to share prices being over $100, so a lower share price may encourage more investors to consider its stock.