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Shares Finish Higher After Volatile Week

Markets in Asia today will feel the impact of the weekend raids on Syria by US, UK and French aircraft and missiles.

The raids were announced Saturday, Sydney time, well after financial markets had closed in the US and Europe. There was some trading on Middle Eastern exchanges over the weekend.

Eurozone shares rose 0.1% on Friday, but the US S&P 500 fell 0.3% after giving up early gains on the back of worries about Syria (ahead of the attacks), continuing reports from the Mueller inquiry around President Trump and the Republican Party as well as mixed comments from US banks which saw solid March quarter profits from JPMorgan, Citi and Well Fargo (which revealed it is facing a massive $US1 billion fine).

While the weak US lead saw ASX 200 futures fall 6 points or 0.1% pointing to a flat to soft start for the Australian share market this morning, there will be a much bigger reaction to the bombing raids.

Over last week volatility remained high, driven by worries about a missile strike on Syria and the FBI raiding Trump’s lawyer’s office. US shares rose 2%, Eurozone shares rose 1.2%, Japanese shares gained 1%, Chinese shares rose 0.4% and Australian shares rose 0.7%.

The risk on mood saw bond yields, commodity prices (Gold and oil - see separate story) and the Australian dollar rise, up more than one US cent from the previous week at 77.64.

On Wall Street the Dow fell 122.91 points, or 0.5%, to end at 24,360.14. The S&P 500 index dropped 7.69 points, or 0.3%, to finish at 2,656.30. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 33.60 points, or 0.5%, at end at 7,106.65.

And given the solid bank results from the trio of big banks it was a surprise that financials were the worst-performing sector in the S&P 500, off 1.6% on the day.

For the week, the Dow saw a gain of 1.8%, while the S&P rose 2% and the Nasdaq produced a weekly jump of 2.8%.

The ASX 200 index finished up 13.6 points to 5829.1 on Friday, for a 0.7% advance over the week.

Miners were the best performers by sector over the week. BHP Billiton rose on every day and ended up 3.9% to $29.76. Rio Tinto was up 6.8% to $78.18 for the week, also recording five consecutive days of price rises

Shares in Alumina rose 8.4% to $2.59 over the week.

Infigen Energy was one of the biggest movers this week, up 16.7% for the week to $0.70.

Seven West Media was up 12.6% to 58 cents for the week.

Shares in Fletcher Building jumped 8.9% to $6.02 on Friday after it was suggested that Wesfarmers might be interested.

The banks dragged on the market with NAB down 1.3% for the week at $28.48 and CBA falling 0.4% to $73.20. ANZ and Westpac also weighed as both finished the week down 0.65.

Qantas shares fell 1.6% to $5.95 as it finally reacted to the sharp rise in oil prices that has pushed the share prices of US airlines lower.

View More Articles By Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

At the AFR he was a finance writer, Finance Editor, News Editor and Chief of Staff. At the Nine Network he was supervising producer of Business Sunday for more than 16 years. He has also written for other online and analogue print publications here and overseas.



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