The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) suffered its first weekly loss in over a month last week as market sentiment fell and investors cashed in on bank shares that traded ex-dividend.
Whilst investor sentiment took a battering as a result of mostly downbeat earnings forecasts announced at various companies' annual general meetings, the index's 0.2% drop to 5400.7 points was largely due to falls in three of the major banks.
Westpac (ASX: WBC) weighed the index down the most, falling 1.2% after trading without rights to an 88c regular dividend and a 10c special dividend on Friday, whilst ANZ (ASX: ANZ) and NAB (ASX: NAB) also fell in value on Thursday after going ex-dividend. Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) on the other hand climbed 4.4% for the week after analysts increased their annual profit forecast to $8.4 billion following a stronger than anticipated first-quarter result.
Mining services stocks were amongst the worst performing for the week. Ausdrill (ASX: ASL) plummeted 32% after having predicted a profit slump of up to 61% for the year whilst NRW Holdings (ASX: NWH) and Boart Longyear (ASX: BLY) also fell heavily.
Whilst the mining services companies may have performed poorly however, the miners themselves had a strong week. BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) charged ahead 1.1% and 2.7%, respectively, whilst Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) added 6.1%, despite having lost 4.2% on Friday.
The benchmark index hit a fresh five-year high on Friday before falling away towards the end of trading, which resulted in an overall decline for the week. With the stock market performing so strongly, it is becoming more and more difficult to find quality companies trading at discounted prices – however, there are still opportunities available!