Market Wrap: Aussie stocks close higher

Market Reports

The Australian stock market closed higher today, for the third consecutive session. Local gold miners such as Newcrest Mining and Lihir Gold were among the better performers of the day.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index is up 14 points to finish at 4,410. And on the futures market, the SPI200 is up 1 point.

In economic news: According to data released by the RBA the total value of credit and debit card transactions increased to $19.63 billion in May, up from $17.96 billion in April.

To company news around this afternoon: Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX:RIO) has given notice to joint venture partner Ivanhoe Mines Ltd that they have referred a dispute to arbitration. Rio has accused the Canadian miner of breaching a private placement agreement. Before its adoption Rio advised Ivanhoe that the rights plan would breach Rio Tinto’s contractual rights. Rio Tinto says that the board of Ivanhoe nonetheless adopted the plan on April 6 2010 over Rio’s strong objections. Shares in Rio Tinto closed up 0.98% at $68.77.

The Australian Associated Press has reported that Leighton Holdings Ltd (ASX:LEI) has secured a $45.58 million contract in India. According to AAP the contract is for the development a multi-purpose berth, to handle clean cargo by Paradip Port Trust. Leighton has now won two port contracts this month with the latest has been awarded to the consortium of Sterlite Industries and Leighton Contractors India. AAP reports construction under the contract is anticipated to be complete by the end of 2012. Shares in Leighton Holdings closed 0.03% lower at $30.24.

Also making news: DuluxGroup (ASX:DLX) debuted on the ASX today opening at $2.50 a share which gives the company a market cap of around $905 million, after demerging from Orica on Friday.

Corporate Express Australia Ltd (ASX:CXP) has advised that Staples Australia’s Pty Ltd take-over bid for the company has reached more than 92% in acceptances.

Miner and resource developer IMX Resources NL (ASX:IXR) says China’s Sichuan Taifeng will invest $49 million into IMX and the Cairn Hill project, The Foreign Investment Review Board already having given the transaction the green light.

Billabong International Ltd (ASX:BBG) has acquired Canadian apparel brand RVCA, and their bid to acquire West 49 is now in question with US sporting goods chain Zumiez likely to outbid.

In the best and worst performers: The best performing sector at close was the Materials index, up 122 points at 11,756. The worst performing sector was the Industrials index, down 13 points at 3,283.The best performing stock in the S&P/ ASX200 was Elders, shares rose 13.95% to $0.49. Shares in White Energy and St Barbara also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Orica, shares fell 5.61% to close at $24.24. Shares in Biota Holdings and Virgin Blue also closed weaker today.

In commodities, gold is trading at $1,209.95 U.S an ounce, and light crude is down $0.40 at $75.69 U.S a barrel.

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