Market Wrap: Aus shares close 0.96% higher

Market Reports

The local share market mirrored a strong lead from Wall Street and maintained that momentum throughout the session closing the day well and truly in the black up 0.96 per cent. It was a sea of green for most sectors today with the energy space leading the charge after a jump in the price of oil overnight. We also saw some modest gains in the big four banks, and BHP and Rio Tinto both closed the day 2.5 per cent higher. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 49 points up to finish at 5,168. 
 
The value of trades was $6.9 billion on volume of 1.03 billion 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 BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP).
 
On the futures market the SPI is up 51 points.
 
Economic news

The unemployment rate has slid to 5.8 per cent from 6 per cent in February, because many people have given up looking for work. According to latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics only 300 new jobs were added for the month, which indicates a drop in the participation rate. 
 
Company news

AWE Limited (ASX:AWE) has completed the sale of its 10 per cent working interest in the Sugarloaf AMI to US-based Carrier Energy Partners for US $190 million. As previously announced the sale proceeds will be used to repay debt drawn under AWE’s existing debt facility. The company says the sale of Sugarloaf was an important step forward in reshaping AWE to grow in a low oil price environment. 
Shares in AWE closed 6.11 per cent higher at $0.70. 
 
Goodman Group (ASX:GMG) has announced it has acquired 100 per cent of its operating platform in Brazil.
 
Novogen Limited (ASX:NRT) has received a cash refund of $2.8 million from the ATO, under the R&D Tax Incentive Program for the financial year ended 30 June 2015.
 
SurfStitch Group Limited (ASX:SRF) has announced the appointment of Mr Lex Pedersen and Mr Justin Stone as joint CEOs and MDs of the group effective immediately.
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Energy adding 2.75 per cent to close at 7,923. The worst performing sector was Telcos, losing 0.6 per cent to close at 1,924 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Mesoblast, rising 15.7 per cent to close at $2.80. Shares in Myer and Fortescue also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Retail Food Group, dropping 5.37 per cent to close at $5.11. Shares in Slater and Gordon and Resmed also closed lower. 
 
Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,258 an ounce.
Light crude is up $1.92 at $US40.00 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7591.