Market Wrap: Aus shares close 1.44% higher

Market Reports

Following positive leads from US markets, the local share market jumped at the open and managed to hold steady throughout the session closing 1.44 per cent higher. While all sectors finished the day in positive territory, gains in the financials space provided the biggest support for the index; with NAB the best performer adding just over 2 per cent. It was a sea of green across the energy and healthcare sectors also with Origin Energy and CSL leading the charge. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 73 points up to finish at 5,083. 
 
The value of trades was $4.8 billion on volume of 693 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
 
On the futures market the SPI is up 78 points.
 
Economic news

Job vacancies in Australia are at their highest level in three years, according to latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. In the three months to February, vacancies increased 3.1 per cent to 172,900. 

Company news

Covata Limited (ASX:CVT) has completed extensive deployment, due diligence and reseller negotiations with Taiwan’s largest Telco, Chunghwa, with the go-to-market launch scheduled from the end of April. Chunghwa Telecom is Taiwan’s largest provider of fixed line, mobile, broadband and internet and data services. Covata says it has completed the Safe Share deployment into Chunghwa’s data centre environments. Shares in Covata closed 7.81 per cent higher at $0.35. 
 
Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) has announced group capacity increased by 9.5 percent and group demand increased by 9.1 percent in February.
 
Alcoa Inc (ASX:AAI) has agreed to sell its 20 percent stake in the Dampier to Bunbury National Gas pipeline to DUET Group for $205 million.
 
Recall Holdings (ASX:REC) says the proposed acquisition of the company by Iron Mountain has been given the green light by the ACCC.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Telcos adding 2 per cent to close at 1,964. The sector with the least gains was Utilities, adding 0.8 per cent to close at 7,073 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Genworth, rising 8.26 per cent to close at $2.49. Shares in Mesoblast and IPH also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Worley Parsons, dropping 3.93 per cent to close at $5.38. Shares in St Barbara and Oz Minerals also closed lower. 

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,229 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.04 higher at $US38.32 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7655.