The miners were the bright spot today in an otherwise lackluster day that saw the local market close flat. The banks extended their losses with the big four all slightly lower. In economic news: The NAB quarterly business survey has shown a fall in both confidence and conditions in the first three months of the year.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 7 points up to finish at 5,845.
The value of trades was $5.1 billion on volume of 760 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
and National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB)
On the futures market the SPI is 7 points up.
Shares in Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG)
have jumped more than 9 per cent as it increases its bond offering to $2.3 billion due to high demand. The miner released $1.5 billion in senior secured notes this morning and it was later upsized. Fortescue closed 9.71 per cent up at $2.09
Shares in BC Iron Limited (ASX:BCI)
have rocketed more than 50 per cent higher following the release of its third quarter activities report after the price of iron ore gained overnight. The iron ore producer reports output at its Nullagine Joint Venture (NJV) with Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG)
rose 68 per cent to 1.77 million wet tonnes of ore. Shares in BC Iron closed 53.85 per cent up at $0.40
Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX:NCM)
has boosted its annual copper guidance and expects costs to come in at the bottom end of its prior guidance range.
Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API)
has swung to an interim profit after reporting a loss of $115 million the year before.
CSL Limited (ASX:CSL)
will begin the hunt for a new CFO as it’s announced Gordon Naylor will leave the role to lead the company’s new global flu vaccine business.
Australia’s Big Four Banks have announced packages to provide assistance for customers impacted from wild storms which swept across the east coast of New South Wales this week.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was materials adding 1.3 per cent to close at 9,235. The worst performing sector was consumer staples, losing 0.5 per cent to close at 9,002 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG)
, rising 9.71 per cent to close at $2.09. Shares in Whitehaven Coal limited (ASX:WHC)
and Nufarm Limited (ASX:NUF)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Regis Resources Limited (ASX:RRL)
, dropping 9.23 per cent to close at $1.23. Shares in Spotless Group Holdings Limited (ASX:SPO)
and Northern Star Resources Limited (ASX:NST)
also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,189 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.44 down at $US56.16 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7745