After what could be considered a bit of a directionless session, the Australian share market ended up closing the day flat or 0.04 per cent higher after bouncing at the open. Today it was the materials space that was the star performer with the iron ore miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue charging ahead. Not a good day for the telcos and utilities sectors with the likes of Telstra and TPG Telecom finishing the day in the red.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 2 points up to finish at 5,540.
The value of trades was $4.8 billion on volume of 651 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 Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG).
On the futures market the SPI is up 5 points.
Inflation has risen 0.4% for the June quarter according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This is compared with a fall of 0.2% in the March quarter. The Bureau says the most significant price rises this quarter are medical and hospital services (+4.2%), automotive fuel (+5.9%), tobacco (+2.1%) and new dwelling purchases by owner-occupiers (+0.9%).
Asciano Limited (ASX:AIO) has announced that the Foreign Investment Review Board has provided written notice that there are no objections to the previously announced Scheme of Arrangement whereby Australian Logistics will acquire Asciano, including the Pacific National Business. Asciano will now proceed to seek approval for the Scheme from the Surpreme Court of New South Wales, the second hearing of which is being held tomorrow. Shares in Asciano Limited closed flat at $9.13.
AGL Energy Ltd (ASX:AGL) has announced that alternative investment firm, QIC, will be its equity partner in a renewable energy fund – the ‘Powering Australian Renewables Fund’.
Medical device company, Compumedics Ltd (ASX:CMP), has secured a new 3-year contract with Bestmed, a medical technology company in China.
iCar Asia Ltd (ASX:ICQ) says its quarterly cash collections have increased by 45% year-on-year, totaling $1.9 million.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Materials adding 1.7 per cent to close at 8,628. The worst performing sector was Utilities, losing 1.3 per cent to close at 7,977 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Programmed, rising 14.37 per cent to close at $2.03. Shares in Fortescue Metals and Alumina also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Asaleo Care, dropping 5.76 per cent to close at $1.39. Shares in Graincorp and SAI Global also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,319 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.21 lower at $US42.92 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7477.