Today, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) rose 48.2 points, or 0.9 percent, to 5,356.3 points. For the week as a whole, the exchange jumped 189.8 points, or 3.7 percent — that is its best weekly performance since December 2011, as per The Sydney Morning Herald. Also positive is the fact that ASX is up 0.1 percent so far this year.

Explaining the good news, Mike Kendall, executive director at JBWere, told the publication, ”[w]e’re seeing continuation of the cost-out story. Companies are very focused on managing costs and drive efficiency as aggressively as they can.”

However, companies are going to have to expand their profits aggressively if dividends are to continue rising each half year. ”I don’t think we’ve got the economic environment which is conducive to that just yet,” Kendall continued. “Things are expected to be fairly strained for some time to come.”

Performing well today was Sims Metal Management (ASX:SGM), a company that is engaged in ferrous secondary recycling. It gained $10.70, or 6.79 percent. Similarly, PanAust (ASX:PNA), an Australia-based mining company that sells and produces copper-gold concentrate, rose $1.97, or 6.78 percent.

On a less positive note, Energy World (ASX:EWC), which produces and sells natural gas and power, today lost $0.35, or 2.78 percent. Meanwhile, Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) dropped $1.57, or 2.18 percent. Whitehaven is focused on developing and operating coal mines in New South Wales.