Small gains: Aus shares close 0.12% higher

Market Reports

by Carolyn Herbert

The Australian share market has finished the day in positive territory, but only by the skin of its teeth closing 0.12 per cent higher. The energy sector was responsible for buoying the index this session, with more than 4 per cent gains in Santos and Beach Energy. The financials space, namely the big four banks lost momentum at the end of the day all closing lower, except ANZ which bucked the trend.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 7 points up to finish at 5,442.

The value of trades was $5.2 billion on volume of 798 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 Wesfarmers Limited (ASX:WES).

On the futures market the SPI is up 15 points.

Economic news

Unemployment in Australia has fallen to 5.6 per cent, according to latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The fall has been attributed to a drop in the participation rate and an estimate of 9,800 jobs lost.

Company news

Lithium Power International (ASX:LPI) says it has been granted exploration rights over its key Pilgangoora tenement in the Pilbara region in Western Australia. The tenement spans across 75 square kilometers and positions the company as one of the largest landholders in this hard rock lithium province. The tenement is adjacent to lithium projects held by Pilbara Minerals. Shares in Lithium Power International closed flat at $0.36.

Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ASX:API), which owns the Priceline and Soul Pattinson Chemist brands,has reported its net profit after tax rose 16% to $51.7 million.

Brambles (ASX:BXB) reported a 5% rise in sales revenue in the first three months of this financial year.

According to its third quarter operational report, Woodside Petroleum Ltd (ASX:WPL) achieved record production at its Karratha and Pluto gas plants.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Energy adding 1.13 per cent to close at 8,703. The worst performing sector was REITs, losing 0.6 per cent to close at 1,355 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Virtus Health, rising 6.91 per cent to close at $7.74. Shares in CIMIC Group and Evolution Mining also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Spotless Group, dropping 4.57 per cent to close at $1.04. Shares in Trade Me Group and Invocare also closed lower.

IPOs

Creso Pharma Limited (ASX:CPH) started trading today. The medicinal cannabis company listed with an issue price of $0.20, opened at $0.25 and closed at $0.26.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,272 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.05 higher at $US51.67 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7664.