The Australian share market has extended its rally today rising 19 points to close 0.4 per cent higher, following the RBA’s decision to keep the nation’s official interest rates on hold and boosted by the energy sector.
Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 19 points up to finish at 4,292. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 18 points higher.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has kept the nation’s official interest rate unchanged at 3.5 per cent at its August board meeting today. The move is in line with expectations and is the second straight month the RBA has kept interest rates on hold. Construction activity in Australia has contracted for the 26th straight month. According to the Australian Industry Group and Housing Industry Association, the performance of construction index dropped 2.2 points to 32.6 in July, with a read below 50 indicating contraction.
Shares in Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL) remain in a trading halt as the iron ore explorer is reportedly considering a revised bid from Chinese suitor Hanlong Mining. According to media reports, the resources giant reduced its offer by 30 per cent to $0.40 a share, valuing the company at $1.2 billion. Hanlong’s original offer of $0.57 per Sundance share valued the company at about $1.7 billion. The two companies remain in discussions over the adjusted offer. The downgrade comes as iron ore prices remain at their lowest levels in more than two years. Shares in Sundance last traded at $0.34.
Ratings agency Moody’s has reportedly cast a cloud over Crown Limited's (ASX: CWN) casino expansion plans which it announced last week. The global ratings firm says its major growth plans for Perth and Sydney could prove to be “credit-negative” for the casino operator. Crown is said to be set to raise $500 million through a hybrid issue for the development of its hotel and casino complex at Barangaroo in Sydney. Shares in Crown closed 0.23 per cent up at $8.56.
Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI) has booked a first half net profit of $114.6 million in the first six months of this year which is a 66 per cent profit drop on a like for like basis. The result was hit by write downs on two major projects.
Transurban Group’s (ASX:TCL) net profit fell to $58.6 million in fiscal 2012, dragged down by a write down on one of its US assets. The toll roads operator declared a final dividend of 15 cents per share.
Gold miner and explorer Kingsgate Consolidated Limited (ASX:KCN) has inked a joint venture agreement with Trafford Resources Limited (ASX:TRF).
Gloves and condom maker Ansell Limited (ASX:ANN) has bought a French based company called Comasec SAS for $118 million who specialise in gloves and will help Ansell strengthen its Industrial and Speciality Markets businesses.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was energy adding 111 points to close at 12,475.
The worst performing sector was health care, losing 107 points to close at 9,340.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Bradken Limited (ASX:BKN) rising 11.24 per cent to close at $5.74. Shares in Linc Energy and Intrepid Mines also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Cochlear Limited (ASX:COH) dropping 5.12 per cent to close at $63.00. Shares in SP AusNet and Charter Hall Group also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,610 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.31 down at $US91.89 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US1.057.