It was another upbeat trading session for the Australian share market today, after bouncing at the open following positive leads from Wall street. The local bourse managed to keep up that momentum throughout the session, before closing 0.43 per cent higher. Once again, the healthcare space led the charge today with the likes of Cochlear gaining 3.4 per cent. Materials, again, was the biggest drag on the market, with the gold stocks in particular making substantial declines.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 24 points higher to finish at 5,512.
The value of trades was $ 6.1 billion on volume of 830 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA), BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).
On the futures market the SPI is up 23 points.
NAB has released its business conditions survey for the second quarter of 2016. The survey indicates that business conditions rose 1 point to +11, which is higher than the long-run average. However, business confidence weakened as it declined by 2 points to a reading of +2.
Starpharma Holdings Ltd (ASX:SPL) has signed an exclusive licence and supply agreement with a Chinese company to manufacture and sell its Vivagel condoms to the Chinese government. The biotechnology company says this is a significant market opportunity as it expects the Chinese condom market to grow by nearly 60% in the next five years. Shares in Starpharma closed 2.82
per cent higher at $0.73.
AusNet Services Ltd (ASX:AST) and Gippsland Contracting have agreed to the Yarram Bushfire class action for $10.5 million, including legal costs and interest. Both companies will pay half of the settlement amount.
The ACCC says it will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Asciano Ltd (ASX:AIO) by a consortium – comprising Qube Holdings Ltd, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP and various global investment funds.
Oil Search Ltd (ASX:OSH) says it does not intend to submit a revised offer in relation to its proposed take-over of InterOil Corporation.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Healthcare adding 1.5 per cent to close at 22,671. The worst performing sector was Materials, losing 0.4 per cent to close at 8,492 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Mantra Group, rising 8.11 per cent to close at $3.60. Shares in Fairfax and GWA Group also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Saracen, dropping 9.71 per cent to close at $1.54. Shares in St Barbara and Northern Star also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $1,318 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.21 higher at $US45.66 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US74.96.