Buoyed by positive leads the Australian share market bounced at open and gained steadily throughout the day to end 2 per cent stronger at the session’s high. Energy stocks drove gains with impressive production reports boosting the sector 4.9 per cent to the day’s best performer. Stronger volumes and values all round pushed the ASX 200 to a two month high.
The S&P/ASX 200 index surged 83 points to finish at 4,207. On the futures market the SPI is now 68 points higher.
Business conditions and confidence dropped from April to June. According to National Australia Bank Limited’s (ASX:NAB) quarterly survey business conditions fell from +3 in the March quarter to -1 in the June quarter. Business confidence eased from -1 in the March quarter to -2 in the June quarter. NAB chief economist Alan Oster says the impact to spending from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s rate cuts since November last year is yet to appear.
Shares in Santos Limited (ASX:STO) rose after the oil and gas producer reported its June quarter output rose 9 per cent and sales gained 18 per cent on the back of higher oil and gas prices and higher sales volumes. Santos CEO David Knox says higher production, including the company’s best quarterly oil output in four years, combined with strong oil and gas prices has delivered a solid quarterly result and set a strong foundation for the second half of the year. Shares in Santos rose 5.84 per cent today, closing at $10.69.
Shares in Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) gained as the oil and gas producer revealed its June quarter production rose 43 per cent and revenue was up 14 per cent from the prior quarter. Woodside has attributed the rise to the successful ramp-up of its Pluto LNG Plant and high reliability from its foundation business. Shares in Woodside Petroleum gained 7.54 per cent today, closing at $32.67.
Shares in Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) lifted from this week’s lows amid reports the global miner will cut jobs at a central Queensland mine to lower costs and combat softer coal prices.
Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) recovered some of this week’s lost ground after reports emerged the iron ore miner has hired Macquarie Bank to sell its Solomon hub power station.
Shares in Fairfax Media Limited (ASX:FXJ) dipped after the media company appointed fast food entrepreneur Jack Cowin, also an associate of Gina Rinehart, to the company’s board.
Shares in Seven West Media Limited (ASX:SWM) slumped after exiting a trading halt following the completion of the institutional component of its $440 million capital raising geared to paying down debt.
Best and worst performers
All sector advanced: The best performing sector was Energy gaining 565 points to close at 12,127.
The sector with the smallest gains was Consumer Discretionary, adding 14 points to close at 1,253 points.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN), rising 9.39 per cent to close at $1.17. Shares in Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL) and Mirabela Nickel Limited (ASX:MBN) also closed stronger.
The worst performing stock was PanAust Limited (ASX:PNA), dropping 4.72 per cent to close at $2.22. Shares in Seven West Media Limited (ASX:SWM) and Perseus Mining Limited (ASX:PRU) also closed lower.
Equamineral Holdings Limited (ASX:EQH) started trading today: Issue price $0.20, opened $0.20, closed $0.21
Gold is trading at $US1,579 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.52 higher at $US90.39 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US1.04.