Market Wrap: Aus shares see soft start to week

Market Reports

The Australian share market defied weak offshore leads, moving into positive territory in afternoon trade to close slightly higher. 

Figures
 
Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 13 points or 0.2% higher to finish at 5610.
The value of trades was $3.9 billion on volume of 665 million shares at the close of trade.
The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB).
 
On the futures market the SPI is 17 points higher.
 
Company News

The a2 Milk Company Limited (ASX:A2M, NZE:ATM) has received an expression of interest from two associated trade parties regarding a potential acquisition of the company.
a2 Milk says its board will seek further information on the proposal but says there is no certainty a deal will be done and it does not consider a takeover imminent. Shares in The a2 Milk Company rose 19.61 per cent to close at $0.61.
 
Aspen Group Limited (ASX:APZ) has inked a deal to buy a residential village in Western Australia for $10.2 million.
Aspen Group says the acquisition is in line with its strategy to focus on the accommodation sector. Shares in Aspen Group rose 0.38 per cent to close at $1.30.
 
DEXUS Property Group (ASX:DXS) is set to acquire the Waterfront Place office tower and Eagle Street Pier in Brisbane’s CBD for $635 million. 
 
Energy Resources of Australia Limited (ASX:ERA) has announced board departures just weeks after halting the expansion of its controversial Ranger mine.
 
Macmahon Holdings Limited (ASX:MAH) has warned it expects to book a pre-tax charge between $95 million and $125 million in FY15.
 
Skilled Group Limited (ASX:SKE) has entered into a trading halt as prepares to update the market on a potential transaction.
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was REITs adding 2 per cent to close at 1,291 points.
The worst performing sector was industrials, losing 0.8 per cent to close at 4,711 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 wasCardno Limited (ASX:CDD), rising 11.36 per cent to close at $3.43. Shares in Syrah Resources Ltd (ASX:SYR) and Senex Energy Ltd (ASX:SXY) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was IOOF Holdings Limited (ASX:IFL), dropping 13.32 per cent to close at $9.24. Shares in Seek Limited (ASX:SEK) and Ansell(ASX:ANN)also closed lower.
 
IPOs

AirXpanders, Inc. (ASX:AXP) started trading today. The company is focussed on the design, manufacture, sale and distribution of AeroForm patient controlled tissue expander for breast reconstruction procedures. AirXpanders floated with an issue price of $0.50, opened at $0.50 and closed at $0.51.   
 
Commodities

The price of gold is trading at $US1,197 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.85 lower at $US59.97 a barrel.

Currencies

The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7790.