The Australian share market has bounced back from yesterday’s losses, opening in the black and continuing to gain momentum throughout the session before closing 0.52 per cent higher. The materials space bounced back this session with the big miners BHP and Rio Tinto gaining between 1 and 2 per cent. We also saw some modest gains in the big four banks, with ANZ leading the charge up gaining over 1 per cent. Staples were the worst performers with Bellamy’s and Woolworths closing lower.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 28 points up to finish at 5,429.
The value of trades was $6.3 billion on volume of 884 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).
On the futures market the SPI is 37 points up.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has once again kept interest rates on hold at a record low of 1.5 per cent at its final board meeting for 2016. The central bank cited temporary slowing of economic growth as the main reason for keeping the cash rate unchanged.
Novogen Limited (ASX:NRT) has enrolled its first patient into its phase 1 clinical study for Cantrixil. The Phase 1 Study is designed to primarily to understand the safety and tolerability of the drug on ovarian cancer patients, and will be run in hospitals in the US and Australia. Its anticipated that 60 patients will be recruited and the study will run for approximately 18 months. Shares in Novogen closed 4.44 per cent up at $0.09.
Origin Energy Ltd (ASX:ORG) has announced plans to divest its conventional oil and gas assets, which are estimated to be worth over $1.8 billion.
BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) will acquire a 60% stake in the Trion oil field, located in the Gulf of Mexico. The other 40% stake will be owned by Pemex, Mexico’s state petroleum firm.
Beach Energy Ltd (ASX:BPT) has signed a gas sales agreement with Adelaide Brighton Cement Limited.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was REITs adding 1.83 per cent to close at 1,317. The worst performing sector was Staples, losing 0.59 per cent to close at 8,407 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Regis Healthcare, rising 13.15 per cent to close at $4.56. Shares in Japara Healthcare and Estia Health also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Regis Resources, dropping 5.36 per cent to close at $2.65. Shares in Infigen Energy and Western Areas also closed lower.
HearMeOut Limited (ASX:HMO) also listed today at $0.20, opened at $0.24 and closed at $0.19.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,172 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.73 lower at $US50.95 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US74.61.