The S&P ASX 100 Index (ASX: ^XTO) was up 1.5% for the week and the Aussie dollar was flat, starting and finishing the week at $0.90 versus the US$. These four companies were standouts in weekly gains.
SEEK Limited (ASX: SEK) $16.14 +22.3%
The online jobs classifieds portal announced it was going to buy out JobStreet, the Singapore based Asian jobs portal which it already owns a stake in. It wants to expand its regional coverage of its Seek Asia subsidiary and complement its controlling ownership of Zhaopin, a leading jobs website in China.
The announcement came with the half-year report showing underlying NPAT up 29% to $87.4 million. The company wants to replicate its market share dominance of Australia and New Zealand in South East Asia.
AMP Limited (ASX: AMP) $5.00 +10.6%
This financial services company didn’t go up because it wowed the market with a full-year statutory net profit down 2% to $672 million from $689 million in the pcp, but more for the growth story.
The company has completed the integration of the AXA business and will focus on making investments in the high growth Asian market as well as cutting costs to remain competitive in the Australian market.
Monadelphous Group Limited (ASX: MND) $16.58 +6.3%
Its half-year statutory net profits rose 10% to $87.1 million from H1 2013, however it did have about a 1% fall in revenue and projected a possible 10% revenue fall for the full year.
As the mining industry is pulling back, it has had to make up for it by cutting costs. The company announced it has made up to an annualised $34 million to date in cost savings, so the market thinks it is moving in the right direction amidst other engineering and mining services companies struggling.
Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX: LEI) $17.36 +6.2%
Another big name in engineering and construction with big exposure to the mining industry pullback raised its full-year statutory profit by 13% to $509 million. It was able to offset most of the $4 billion reduction in contract mining by increasing work in hand for infrastructure and property development by $2 billion and $1 billion respectively.
It has forecast a full-year underlying profit for 2014 at between $540 million to $620 million.
Of these four I think the strongest story is Seek. It is coming from strong past growth and is not in a cost cutting mode to prop up earnings. Cost cutting is necessary to keep an organisation lean and strong, but it can’t be done year after year with the same effectiveness.
Strong growth with high profit margins brings more money to feed back into the company for even more growth. That’s why I would stick with Seek.