The Australian share market has held on to most of its gains today, closing more than 1.2 per cent higher after bolting more than 1 per cent or 57 points at the open, led up by the resources sector and following a rally in US markets on Friday.
Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 51 points up to finish at 4,273. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 48 points higher.
ANZ job advertisements index fell 0.8 per cent for July, a decline for the fourth consecutive month suggesting unemployment rates could be on the rise. The TD Securities - Melbourne Institute inflation gauge for July has risen slightly by 0.2 per cent compared to the month before which saw a 0.2 per cent decline .
Leighton Holdings Limited’s (ASX:LEI) wholly owned subsidiary Visionstream Australia Pty Ltd has signed a contract with Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) worth about $120 million over three years. The deal will see Visionstream integrate various wideband and other telecommunication infrastructures within Telstra’s Australian network. Shares in Leighton closed 4.56 per cent up at $16.73.
Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX:HVN) says it expects its full year pre-tax profit to be about 40 per cent lower compared to the same time last year as it announced its preliminary profit and sales figures for its financial year. The retailer says national like-for-like sales over the year was 7 per cent down. Shares in Harvey Norman closed 0.25 per cent up at $1.98.
Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) says it has secured a $US1.5 billion funding facility to aid the expansion of its iron ore operations in Western Australia.
Silver Lake Resources Limited (ASX:SLR) will acquire Integra Mining Limited (ASX:IGR) via a scheme of arrangement that will value Integra at $426 million.
Argo Investments Limited (ASX:ARG) full year net profit has slid 2.8 per cent to $167.3 million from the same time last year.
Gunns Limited (ASX:GNS) says it will record an impairment to its balance sheet of about $700-800 million in its full financial year, due to the sudden and substantial decline in stumpage prices in the export woodchip market. The Tasmanian timber company recently advised late last week that it had completed the sale of its Portland woodchip export facility for $61.8 million. Gunns requested a suspension from trading in March and remains in a trading halt.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was materials adding 218 points to close at 9,419.
The sector with the fewest gains was utilities, adding 3 points to close at 5,089.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Integra Mining Limited (ASX:IGR) which surged 26.98 per cent to close at $0.40. Shares in Macmahon Holdings and Boart Longyear also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Silver Lake Resources Limited (ASX:SLR) dropping 8.45 per cent to close at $2.60. Shares in Mirabela Nickel and Perseus Mining also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,607 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.15 down at $US91.25 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US1.057.