A strong end to the week with option exercise boosting volumes across the board. After a lacklustre start we drifted down before investors threw caution to the wind and bid the market up to close the month at 5135 a gain of a 85 odd points. Did feel like a bit of an end of month shove on thin volumes and lack of sellers but there was relief at the UK Parliament’s vote that has quietened the war drums for a time . Financials were once again front and centre as Commonwealth Bank of Australia (A$72.84, +1.1%) marched on with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (A$29.69, +0.7%) in tow. Macquarie Group Limited (A$43.86, +0.9%) and QBE Insurance Group Limited (A$15.20, +0.5%) were also in the black today as were Suncorp Group Limited (A$12.33, +0.9%) and Insurance Australia Group Limited (A$5.82, +0.9%) but #AMP failed to inspire. Good to see Telstra Corporation Limited (A$4.90, +1.2%) firm today as they had been weak of late, post going ex-dividend, Consumer stocks were also green with Woolworths Limited (A$35.67, +0.8%),Wesfarmers Limited (A$40.66, +1.4%),Metcash Limited (A$3.25, +2.5%),Treasury Wine Estates Limited (A$4.76, +0.8%) and Coca-Cola Amatil Limited (A$12.28, +0.6%) all slightly firmer.

In resource land BHP Billiton Limited (A$35.75, +1.1%) was the large cap star while RIO Tinto Limited (A$58.30, +0.1%) didn’t play follow the leader. We did have some good gains in the gold sector despite the price going backwards. Weird ,the shares have been falling as the metal went up and now the shiny stuff has fallen back up they go. Silver Lake Resources Limited (A$0.98, +5.4%),Kingsgate Consolidated Limited (A$2.23, +5.2%),Evolution Mining Limited (A$0.93, +3.3%),PRU#,St Barbara Limited (A$0.805, +8.8%),Regis Resources Limited (A$4.31, +5.9%) all very strong. Energy stocks were also good with Woodside Petroleum Limited (A$38.18, -0.1%) ,Santos Limited (A$14.92, +1.4%),Oil Search Limited (A$8.40, +0.7%),Karoon Gas Australia Limited (A$5.36, +3.5%) and Drillsearch Energy Limited (A$1.435, +4.4%) showing a clean pair of heels.Mining services were also better as Bradken Limited (A$5.70, +2.5%),Boart Longyear Limited (A$0.46, -2.1%),Macmahon Holdings Limited (A$0.13, unch),Cardno Limited (A$6.40, +2.4%),NRW Holdings Limited (A$1.37, +7.0%) and Monadelphous Group Limited (A$18.57, +3.2%) all rose strongly.

In retail land we had Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (A$3.01, +4.5%) reporting today whilst David Jones Limited (A$2.82, -0.7%) went nowhere following their numbers and Myer Holdings Limited (A$2.75, +2.2%) posted a good gain today.

Big winners today included Paladin Energy Ltd (A$0.56, +5.7%),#XRO#,Beadell Resources Limited (A$0.91, +7.1%),Regis Resources Limited (A$4.31, +5.9%).OGC# and Transfield Services Limited (A$1.145, +4.1%) while in the doh house were Peet Limited (A$1.28, -0.8%),Qantas Airways Limited (A$1.37, -2.1%),Virgin Australia Holdings Limited (A$0.39, -3.7%),Amalgamated Holdings Limited (A$8.02, -3.1%),Fairfax Media Limited (A$0.535, -2.7%) and Senex Energy Limited (A$0.745, -2.0%).

Volume was better but there was an option expiry distorting things.

Asian markets were vacillating between good and evil.Most finished positive after a torrid week especially in currency markets as US money exited stage left pursued by a bear.

Stocks and Stories

Recently-listed SDF stock has posted profits slightly ahead of its pre-float targets and reaffirmed its outlook for the year ahead. The insurance broker, which listed on the ASX earlier this month in one of the biggest floats of this year, today posted adjusted profits of $28.1 million, compared with $27.2 million forecast in its prospectus. And talking recent listings ISU copped it big time as they missed some prospectus targets. Maybe they were aspirational not written in stone. Also copped some bad press in the process as their revenue missed prospectus targets by 3%.

Uranium miner Paladin has more than doubled last year’s losses with a $US420.9 million net loss for the 2013 financial year.

Despite increasing production and improving revenue, low uranium prices continue to take a toll on the company, prompting $US335.9 million worth of asset write downs.

Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (A$3.01, +4.5%) announced today and although their numbers were down the outlook is so bright they have to wear shades, apparently anyway!

Australia’s fourth biggest gold miner, Evolution Mining Limited (A$0.93, +3.3%), has reported a net loss of $307.4 million on the back of $384 million worth of ‘impairments’. Underlying net profit came in at $44.4 million.

Austal Limited (A$0.84, +5.0%) has more than tripled its annual profit due partly to its growing work with the United States Navy. The company made a net profit of $35.9 million in the 2012-13 financial year, more than triple the previous year’s $11 million.

Japanese inflation pushed up to 0.7% to its highest level in 5 years as ‘Abenomics’ starts to bite. Target is still 2%, so some way to go.

Tomorrows News Today

China Petrochemical Corp., Asia’s largest refiner, agreed to pay $3.1 billion for a 33 % stake in Apache Corp’s Egyptian oil and gas business, marking the state-owned company’s biggest purchase in the Middle East.Shows someone has confidence in the Egyptian economy and political situation.

Vodafone has confirmed it is in talks with US company Verizon Communications over the sale of its 45% stake in their joint venture, Verizon Wireless. Reports earlier this year suggested that Verizon was looking to buy Vodafone’s stake in Verizon Wireless for about $100bn (£64.5bn).

The US is closed Monday for Labour day long weekend with it happy to put August behind it as the worse monthly performance in a year.Few numbers out today from the US though with personal and spending income at 8:30 and consumer sentiment, and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard speaks on the economy in the morning. Always fun.

Only one week to go until we get to vote. Then thankfully it will be all over. No more Kev13!

Back on Sky TV this afternoon at 5.30pm for a roundup of the week’s action