The last week of February and the end of reporting season had the S&P ASX 100 Index (ASX: ^XTO) ending down 0.6% to 4,485. The Aussie dollar slipped down from $0.8973 to the US$ to finish the week at $0.8922. The week finished with the move by Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) to slash costs and its workforce with 5,000 jobs expected to be lost.
But we still have our gainers in the ASX 100, and here are the top three for the week.
QBE Insurance Group Ltd (ASX: QBE) shot up 10.1% by week’s end, closing at $12.82. It announced a full year net loss of $254 million, but the market is looking past that and expecting FY2014 and FY2015 to show much improvement. It is implementing its operational transformation, which it estimates will achieve savings of at least US$250 million by the end of 2015.
The share price was in a downward trend from about $30 to $10 between 2007 and 2012, it saw some recovery in 2013 up to about $17.40, before returning to almost $10 again December.
Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX: RHC) came in second with an 8.76% rise to $48.25 at last trading on Friday. Its half-year net profit of $157.7 million was on the back of all of its segment regions reporting solid performances for the private hospital operator. It achieved a 14% gain in profit on the pcp.
With strong demand for its Australian services, it is planning to develop extensions to existing hospitals in what it refers to as “brownfield development”, committing about $70 million towards this in the past half-year. It is also looking for more growth opportunities in Asia, where it sees great potential in healthcare.
The company’s guidance is for full-year FY2014 net profit to rise 16%-18% on the pcp.
Beach Energy Limited (ASX: BPT) opened the week with Monday’s release of its $160.5 million half-year net profit, up 267% from H1 2013’s $44 million net profit. This was due to the higher oil production levels, especially from its Western Flank area in the Cooper-Eromanga Basins region that is seeing a lot of attention because of its unconventional gas potential.
Its share price was up 7.9% by the close of Friday to $1.64, and hit a 52-week high of $1.70 in mid-week. Oil production was up 59%, and the company’s guidance for H2 2014 was to maintain maximum available capacity for its Western Flank wells.
The earnings season has seen some surprising ups and downs, and it’s the perfect time for investors to go over their favourite stocks’ reports to see what kind of headwinds or tailwinds they have. Look over their long-term performance and judge for yourself if you are seeing substantial growth for revenue and earnings, or if the story is starting to go off course.
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Motley Fool contributor Darryl Daté-Shappard does not own shares in any company mentioned.