Market Wrap - 08/02/10, 5.30pm EST

Market Reports

The Australian share market has closed marginally higher today, as investors hunted for bargains following the market’s slump to a three-month low last week.

JB Hi-Fi shares fell today after the company released its less than favourable half year results, despite a 29% jump in profit the result failed to meet expectations.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index finished 7 points higher at 4,521 while on the futures market, the SPI200’s down 1 point.

To company news around this afternoon: Energy firm Santos Ltd (ASX:STO) has reported a 42% increase in its oil and gas reserve estimates for 2009 - boosting its LNG portfolio. The company says its proven and probable, 2P, oil and gas reserves have risen to a record 1.44 billion barrels of oil equivalent. This is the company’s sixth successive annual increase in its reserves. Santos shares closed 0.38% weaker at $13.15.

Global miner BHP Billiton Ltd (ASX:BHP) has appointed a new president of its iron ore business. Chris Campbell will replace Ian Ashby, who will oversee the company’s planned iron ore joint venture with Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX:RIO). BHP CEO ferrous and coal Marcus Randolph says Mr Campbell’s 20 years with the group and his previous roles in marketing and operational areas of the industry will prove invaluable in his new position. Shares in BHP Billiton closed 0.13% higher at $39.60.

Also making news: Conglomerate Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX:WES) has established a management committee to make sure that retail chains Kmart and Target co-ordinate on key operational activities including strategic issues, property matters, human resources and other areas of common interest. Target managing director Launa Inman will chair the committee.

Gold explorer Doray Minerals (ASX:DRM) has had a lackluster debut on the ASX today. The company’s shares opened at 20 cents a share and closed at $0.195 today.

Electrical retailer JB Hi-Fi Ltd (ASX:JBH) has reported a record 29% jump in profit for the first half of the 2010 financial year on the back of strong sales growth.

And gold miner Avoca Resources Ltd (ASX:AVO) says it expects to post its first ever profit of $40.5 million for the first half of the 2010 financial year.

In the best and worst performers: The best performing sector at close was the Financials excluding Real Estate Investment Trust index, which was up 42 points at 5,258.

At the other end the worst performing sector at close was the Real Estate Investment Trust index; which fell 13 points at 859.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ ASX200 was Ten Network Holdings shares gained 9.57% to $1.66. Shares in Eldorado Gold and Avoca Resources also improved.

The worst performing stock was Macquarie CountryWide shares fell 6.25% to $0.60. ING Industrial Fund and JB Hi-Fi shares also closed lower today.

In commodities, gold is trading at $1,067.50 U.S an ounce and light crude is up 55 cents at $71.74 U.S a barrel.