Market Wrap: Aus shares close 1.3% higher

Market Reports

It's been another stellar session for the local share market with the bears appearing to retreat. The index bounced at the open and gained momentum right until the end of the day, closing 1.3 per cent higher. The materials space, led by the big miners buoyed the index, and the big four banks all made some solid gains, with Westpac the star performer up around 2.6 per cent. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 64 points up to finish at 5,119. 
 
The value of trades was $5.3 billion on volume of 746 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 Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 57 points higher.
 
Economic news

The unemployment rate in Australia has fallen to 2.5 year lows according to latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The unemployment rate fell from 5.8 per cent to 5.7 per cent for the month of March. Employment rose by 26,100 in March, after increasing by only 700 in February. 

Company news

National Storage REIT (ASX:NSR) has entered into arrangements to acquire a self storage asset in Gosford on the Central Coast. The acquisition will see National Storage expand its reach north of Sydney to a ranch style centre across two sites, comprising 400 units across 4,900 sqm of net lettable area. The asset will be purchased for around $7.2 million to be funded from NSR’s debt facility. Shares in National Storage closed 0.3 per cent higher at $1.65. 
 
GUD Holdings Limited (ASX:GUD) has agreed to sell its 51% stake in Sunbeam Corporation Limited to its US-based joint venture partner, Sunbeam Products.
 
Compumedics Limited (ASX:CMP) has won a $700,000 contract to supply Westmead Children’s Hospital with its sleep and neuro diagnostic equipment.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Staples adding 2.6 per cent to close at 8,312. The worst performing sector was utilities, losing 0.3 per cent to close at 6,936 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Whitehaven Coal, rising 9.7 per cent to close at $0.73. Shares in GUD Holdings and Bellamy’s also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Aconex, dropping 4.6 per cent to close at $6.01. Shares in Ardent Leisure and Sandfire Resources also closed lower. 
 
Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,235 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.74 lower at $US42.76 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7656.