Market Wrap: Aus shares close 1.37% higher

Market Reports

It’s been another day in the black for the local share market, following a positive lead from European markets yesterday, with the index closing 1.37 per cent higher. 
 
It was another good day for the materials space, unless you are a gold miner, with BHP and RioTinto jumping more than 3 and 2 per cent respectively. Energy stocks also made some solid gains, with Santos and LNG leading the charge. The financials space was mostly stronger, that’s with the exception of CBA which closed more than 2 per cent lower. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 67 points higher to finish at 4,910. 
 
The value of trades was $6.1 billion on volume of 1.01 billion shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).
 
On the futures market the SPI is 86 points up.
 
Economic news

The Reserve Bank of Australia has released its board minutes from its February meeting. The central bank noted that based on the available data and the forecasts for economic activity and inflation, it was appropriate to leave the cash rate unchanged at 2 per cent. The RBA says it will reassess its stance if the labour market continues to improve, as well as recent financial market turbulence. 
 
Company news

MetalsX Limited (ASX:MLX) has made its off-market takeover bid unconditional for all of the shares in Aditya Birla Minerals (ABY), freeing the offer of all of the remaining defeating conditions. ABY shareholders will receive 1 MLX share for every 4.75 ABY shares. Metals X currently owns 25.69 per cent of ABY.Shares in MetalsX closed 4.76 per cent lower at $1.00. 
 
CSL Limited (ASX:CSL) has announced a 4 percent lift in net profit after tax to US$719 million for the six months ended 31 December 2015.
 
Crown Resorts Limited (ASX:CWN) has announced it will pursue all available avenues of objection amid an income tax dispute with the Australian Taxation Office.
 
Asciano Limited (ASX:AIO) has entered into a bid implementation deed with the Qube consortium and agreements for the sale of the Ports and BAPS Business. 
 
Pacific Brands (ASX:PBG) has posted a lift in net profit to $24.3 million in the first half to 31 December 2015.
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Energy adding 4.8 per cent to close at 7,784. The worst performing sector was Telcos, losing 0.1 per cent to close at 1,975 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Mesoblast, rising 15.88 per cent to close at $1.35. Shares in LNG and Worley Parsons also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Covermore, dropping 13.83 per cent to close at $1.78. Shares in Newcrest and Evolution Mining also closed lower. 
 
Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,194 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.04 up at $US31.95 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7151.