Aussie market delivers best annual performance since 2009

Although the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) fell by 4.6 points on Tuesday, it finished the year on a positive note having climbed by 1.7% over the last five trading days to end at 5352.2 points. This reflected a 703.3 point or 15.1% increase for the year – the best annual performance since 2009.

Engineering and construction company Forge Group (ASX: FMG) was again the leader of the market on Tuesday, soaring a further 9.8% after Monday’s 54.6% increase. After plunging to just 28.5c late in November, Forge’s shares have recovered strongly through December to finish the year at $1.74, after the company got the go-ahead for more work at Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill iron ore mine, Western Australia.

Acrux (ASX: ACR), Ausdrill (ASX: ASL) and Pacific Brands (ASX: PBG) were also among the best performers on Tuesday, gaining 3.6%, 3% and 2.4%, respectively.

National Australia Bank (ASX: NAB) was the only major bank to fall on the last day of trading for 2013, with Westpac (ASX: WBC), ANZ (ASX: ANZ) and Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) each recognising gains between 0.1% and 0.2%. Results were mixed for Australia’s other blue chip stocks with Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO), CSL (ASX: CSL) and Origin Energy (ASX: ORG) all making slight gains while Wesfarmers (ASX: WES), Telstra (ASX: TLS) and BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP) each fell marginally.

Foolish takeaway

While the Aussie stock market experienced its slowest start to December in 40 years, the market’s positive reaction to the US Federal Reserve beginning to taper its bond buying program saw it climb 0.6% for the month. This result came despite a number of profit warnings and a falling Australian dollar which would have seen foreign investors head for the exit from the Aussie market.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.

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