A gaming solutions provider, a media group and a maker of explosives and fertilisers led gains among stocks in the S&P/ASX 200 Index, which rose 0.7% last week.
Here are the winners and losers in the ASX 200 for the week ended Friday, May 13.
Top 5 share price gains
Weekly rise: 22% to $12.41
Aristocrat Leisure (ASX: ALL), which provides gaming machines and casino management systems, said it expects to deliver net profit after tax and amortisation (NPATA) of $183m for the six months to March 31.
The unaudited earnings would be an increase of 66% from the normalised NPATA a year ago, “well ahead of market expectations”, the company said in a statement on May 11.
It expects second-half performance to be “broadly in line” with the first half, Aristocrat said, adding that it will release its first-half results on May 26.
APN News & Media
Weekly rise: 15.7% to 70 cents
APN News & Media (ASX: APN) said it is in exclusive talks with Fairfax Media (ASX: FXJ) to potentially merge their businesses in New Zealand.
The companies said they intend to complete the merger by the end of calendar year 2016, subject to various approvals.
Meanwhile, APN said last Friday it managed to raise $160m from institutional shareholders via selling new shares at 53 cents apiece.
Weekly rise: 15.5% to $3.43
Shares in Incitec Pivot (ASX: IPL) advanced after the company maintained its dividend payout ratio despite reporting lower profit for the half year ended March 31.
Shareholders will receive an interim fully franked dividend of 4.1 cents per share, representing 50% of the company’s net profit after tax (NPAT) before impairment.
The maker of industrial explosives and fertilisers said NPAT for the first six months was $31.5m, including a non-cash impairment of $105.6m. NPAT excluding the impairment stood at $137.1m, or 6.4% lower than a year ago.
Credit Corp Group
Weekly rise: 14.9% to $12.40
Credit Corp (ASX: CCP), which purchases and collects debts, lifted certain forecasts in its financial guidance for the 2016 financial year on operational improvements.
It expects to acquire purchased debt ledger (PDL) totalling $225m-230m for FY16, compared with $185m-$195m estimated in January. Net lending could reach $45m-50m, up from the previous range of $30m-40m.
The company, which also lends to people with damaged credit records, has kept its full-year NPAT guidance unchanged at $44m to $45m.
Northern Star Resources
Weekly rise: 14.9% to $4.79
Gold miner Northern Star Resources (ASX: NST) hasn’t filed any price-sensitive announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange since April 28, when it announced a record operating cash flow of $103m for the March quarter.
The miner also managed to cut costs and sold more gold during the three months, it said in a quarterly update.
Market movers this week
Economic data released by China on Saturday, some of which missed economists’ forecasts, could impact markets this week, CommSec said.
Industrial production in the world’s second-largest economy rose 6% in April from a year ago, while retail sales climbed 10.1%. Urban investment was up 10.5% in the four months to April.
All three figures were weaker than what economists had estimated, according to Bloomberg surveys.
China will release its April home prices data this Wednesday, CommSec added.
In Australia, the bureau of statistics has scheduled to release the April employment data this Thursday.
“Figures have been somewhat patchy in recent months,” said CommSec. There's an expectation that "jobs grew by 20,000 in April" but that more people have been looking for work, so the jobless rate is likely to be little changed near 5.7-5.8%.
Meanwhile, expectations on the changes in the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) official cash rate could affect markets, CommSec said.
Commonwealth Bank chief economist Michael Blythe is pencilling in two further rate cuts from the RBA, in August and November, which could take the cash rate to a new all-time low of 1.25%.
Top 5 share price falls
Shares in Orica (ASX: ORI) sank 14.5% over five days to $13.19. The chemicals supplier said six-month NPAT plunged 33% to $149m, due to “substantial market volatility” and a $41m expense on tax dispute settlement.
BlueScope Steel (ASX: BSL) slipped 13.5% to $5.62 after an explosion and fire occurred at its plant in Ohio, US, on May 7. All employees and contractors are safe, the company said.
While it is assessing the damages, BlueScope expects a production loss of 35,000 tonnes and total financial pre-tax cost, including capital repairs, of about US$5m.
Sky Network Television (ASX: SKT) shed 13% to $3.75. The company said on May 6 it expects a net loss of subscribers of 30,000, taking total subscribers to 830,000 at the end of June.
The net loss comprises a decline of 45,000 core residential pay TV subscribers, offset by a 25,000 increase in other subscribers, it said.
Sims Metal Management (ASX: SGM), which recycles metals and electronics, lost 12.1% to $8.25. This was despite the company telling a conference that it expects “significant earnings recovery” in the second half of FY16.
Regenerative medicine company Mesoblast (ASX: MSB) declined 9.5% to $1.81. The group said it reduced its nine-month loss before tax by 14% from a year earlier after cutting research and development expenses by 19%, while management and administration costs fell 21%.