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Why these 4 ASX shares are ending the week in the red

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) had a strong start to the day but has faded in afternoon trade. At the time of writing the index is up slightly to 5,914 points.

Four shares that have acted as a drag on proceedings today are listed below. Here’s why they are ending the week in the red:

The Ansell Limited (ASX: ANN) share price has fallen 2.5% to $23.70. Earlier this week Ansell reported a sizeable 26% increase in half-year earnings per share and an interim 26.3 cents per share dividend. Its shares went ex-dividend this morning, adding a bit of pressure to its share price during Friday’s trade.

The Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) share price is down 3% to $22.35 after the gold miner released a disappointing half-year report late on Thursday afternoon. One broker that wasn’t impressed was Deutsche Bank. Its analysts have retained their sell rating and $20.00 price target on the gold mining giant after its earnings fell short of expectations. I think Newcrest is a sell due to the prospect of rising U.S. rates and widening risk-free bond yields.

The South32 Ltd (ASX: S32) share price is off almost 6% to $3.30. At one stage the mining giant’s shares fell as much as 10% after a broker note out of the equities desk of Macquarie revealed that its analysts had downgraded South32 to an underperform rating. The broker also cut its price target down to $3.10 from $3.70 amid concerns over rising costs and lower commodity prices in the second-half.

The Star Entertainment Group Ltd (ASX: SGR) share price has plunged 5% to $5.74 after the release of a disappointing half-year result. Although the casino and resort operator delivered growth in revenue across all its businesses, this was undone by a lower than normal VIP win rate. As a result, first-half statutory net profit after tax fell 76.8% on the prior corresponding period to $33 million. I think this result demonstrates why an investment in casino operators is quite literally a bit of a gamble.

So instead of taking a punt on Star Entertainment, here are three quality shares that I think are destined to be market-beaters this year and next.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Ansell Ltd. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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