Over the past week, the S&P ASX 100 Index (ASX: ^XTO) rose 1%, closing at 4,506. The RBA held interest rates steady, stating that “the most prudent course is likely to be a period of stability in interest rates.”
The Aussie dollar maintained its position around $0.92 to the US$ throughout the week. Gold returned to above US$1,300/oz going into the weekend after touching a low of $1,277/oz in the middle of the week.
Here are the top four gainers in the ASX 100 in the past week.
Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (ASX: FOX) was up 6.4% for the week, ending at $35.52. The company operates the global media and entertainment businesses of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.
Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert’s son, will be leaving Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX: TEN) to return to News Corp (NASDAQ: NWS). He will be co-chairman along with his father over News Corp and Twenty-first Century Fox.
Alumina Limited (ASX: AWC), a company which holds 40% ownership of Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals, climbed 5.8% over the week, closing at $1.27. It is up about 27% since mid-December.
It reported an annual net profit of US$500,000, recovering from a net loss in FY2012. It reduced its debt through a share placement, lowering its gearing to 4.6% and strengthening its balance sheet.
Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) was up 5.5% for the week, ending Friday at $1.14. It is still negotiating with the Federal government about making changes to the Qantas Sales Act that could reduce restrictions on foreign ownership.
It is also in the process of cutting costs, with plans to cut as many as 5,000 jobs. In the first half of FY2014, it declared a statutory loss of $235 million.
Lend Lease Group (ASX: LLC) gained 5.4% over the week, closing at $12.51. The property and infrastructure development company has operations in Australia, Asia, the Americas and the UK.
Its residential development business is seeing a big rise in residential lot settlements and pre-sales commitments are also up, thanks to the current expansion in housing construction.
Of these four, I prefer Lend Lease. Housing construction is expected to rise as the property market grows, while at the same time it’s expanding its business in the US.