Market Wrap: Aus shares close 0.6% higher

Market Reports

It has been a bit of a topsy-turvy session for the local share market today, starting the day in positive territory, then losing momentum and moving into the red mid-way through the session, and then finally closing the day 0.6 per cent higher. The big banks and Telstra proved to be the biggest drag on the market, but it was the energy space that was the star performer. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 31 points higher to finish at 5,198. 
 
The value of trades was $5.1 billion on volume of 783 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 Origin Energy (ASX:ORG).
 
On the futures market the SPI is up 17 points.
 
Economic news

There has been a slight easing in construction activity for September according to the latest figures from the Australian Industry Group and Housing Industry Association. The index fell to 51.9 in September from 53.8 in August, but still remains in expansionary territory. 
 
Company news

Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) has responded to media speculation over asset sales. The iron ore miner says it is open to commercial discussions in relation to a minority interest in its mining assets, but says there is no agreement in place at this point in time. Fortescue shares closed 6.33 per cent higher at $2.10. 
 
Insurance Australia Group (ASX:IAG) has announced Peter Harmer will replace retiring Mike Wilkins as Managing Director and CEO.
 
Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) Retail Group Executive Gordan Ballantyne is set to leave the telecommunications giant.
 
iProperty Group Limited (ASX:IPP) has sought to consolidate its position in the Thai market with the acquisition of real estate portal, Prakard.com.
 
360 Capital Group (ASX:TGP) has resolved to increase its stake in 360 Capital Industrial Fund to 19.9 percent. 
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Energy adding 6.7 per cent to close at 9,143. The worst performing sector was Industrials, losing 0.7 per cent to close at 4,738 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Liquefied Natural Gas (ASX:LNG), rising 21.64 per cent to close at $2.08. Shares in AWE and Santos also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Pact Group (ASX:PGH), dropping 5.67 per cent to close at $4.66. Shares in Austal and Platinum Asset Management also closed lower. 
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,149 an ounce.
Light crude is up $2.27 at $US48.53 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying 71.75 US cents.