Market Wrap: ASX up despite weak wage growth

Market Reports

After a dip into the red before the lunch the Australian share market saw solid gains through the afternoon until a lat dip saw the ASX close 0.3 per cent higher. 
 
Weak wage growth figures came from the ABS today with an annual growth rate of only 2.5 per cent increasing the likelihood of monetary stimulus being required. 
 
More promising were HSBC flash Chinese PMI numbers which improved to 50.1 points, which suggests Chinese manufacturing is tipping into expansionary territory. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 18 points up to finish at 5,945. 
 
The value of trades was $6.3 billion on volume of 988 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and QBE Insurance Group Limited (ASX:QBE).
 
On the futures market the SPI is 33 points up.
 
Company news
 
Shares in Southern Cross Media Group Limited (ASX:SXL) gained as it blames weak television advertising markets and lower metro radio market share for a drop in its interim profit. The radio networks owner’s net profit sank 24.4 per cent to $34.7 million in the first half of the 2015 financial year while revenue fell 7.3 per cent to $307.6 million. Southern Cross Media closed 18.18 per cent up at $1.10 

Shares in Retail Food Group Limited (ASX:RFG) have jumped on a strong interim profit and upgraded full year profit guidance. The food outlet manager reported a first half net profit of $21.5 million, up 24.4 per cent, while revenue lifter 25 per cent to $97 million. Shares in Retail Food Group closed 15.29 per cent up at $7.54
 
Cloud based accounting company Xero Limited (ASX:XRO) has landed a $NZ133 million investment from Accel Partners.
 
Kerry Stokes' Seven Group Holdings Limited (ASX:SVW) has attributed challenging conditions and lower commodity prices for its interim profit drop. 
 
WorleyParsons Limited (ASX:WOR) has posted an interim net profit drop and warned on future revenues and gross margin. 
 
Macmahon Holdings Limited (ASX:MAH) has swung to a loss of $112.5 million in the first half from a profit of $19.4 million the year before.  
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was materials adding 1.25 per cent to close at 9,786. The worst performing sector was energy, losing 2 per cent to close at 11,528 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Southern Cross Media Group Limited (ASX:SXL), rising 18.18 per cent to close at $1.10. Shares in Retail Food Group Limited (ASX:RFG) and Seven Group Holdings Limited (ASX:SVW) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Worleyparsons Limited (ASX:WOR), dropping 12.2 per cent to close at $9.86. Shares in Pact Group Holdings Limited (ASX:PGH) and Iress Limited (ASX:IRE) also closed lower. 
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,208 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.17 down at $US49.28 a barrel.

The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7885