On the first day of the new financial year, the Australian share market rallied at open as optimism for the eurozone’s debt crisis buoyed the market. The ASX held on to its gains throughout the day, led by energy and gold stocks before closing 0.9% higher.
Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 38 points up to finish at 4,133. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 40 points higher.
Ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s interest rate decision tomorrow, Australia’s rate of inflation has dropped to its lowest level since the gobal financial crisis, building a case for interest rates to remain unchanged. TD Securities and the Melbourne Institute’s monthly inflation gauge showed annual inflation fell to 1.6 per cent. June has decreased by 0.2 per cent, after May reported a flat result. The monthly inflation index measures the prices of more than 1,000 goods and services.
David Jones Limited (ASX:DJS) has confirmed the unsolicited takeover bid from a UK based, widely unknown entity, has withdrawn its bid saying the recent publicity around its proposal made it difficult to proceed. Doubts surrounding the credibility of the bid were mounting today forcing the retailer to call a trading halt, as it examined the bidders correspondence. ASIC is reportedly investigating the takeover offer, after shares jumped 19 per cent on Friday. Shares in DJs resumed trading just before close and plunged 10.04 per cent at $2.33.
Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI) wholly owned subsidiary Thiess Pty Ltd has won a $205 million contract to construct stages three and four of the Townsville hospital redevelopment. Thiess has been central to the hospital’s construction since 2009, having completed stage one and currently delivering stage two. Work is expected to commence immediately for stages three and four which includes the expansion of a cancer care unit. Shares in Leighton closed 2.52 per cent up at $16.68.
Monadelphous Group Limited (ASX:MND) has acquired a ten per cent stake in waste technology company AnaeCo Limited (ASX:ANQ) as it provides funding under a joint venture agreement.
Blackmores Limited (ASX:BKL) has acquired 100 per cent of wholesale supplements business FIT- BioCeuticals for a cash payment of $40 million.
Whitehaven Coal Limited’s (ASX:WHC) has announced the resignation of Hans Mende from the Whitehaven board of directors.
Explosives and fertiliser manufacturer Incitec Pivot Limited (ASX:IPL) has begun production at its ammonia plant in Moranbah in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Energy adding 238 points to close at 12,140.
The worst performing sector was Health Care, losing 99 points to close at 9,146 points.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL) rising 13.33 per cent to close at $0.34. Shares in Mineral Deposits and Evolution Mining also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was St Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM), dropping 13.84 per cent to close at $1.53. Shares in Aristocrat Leisure and David Jones also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,592 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.13 down at $US83.83 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US1.023.